We’re optimistic, but not unrealistic.
We see the glass half full, and we look for the silver lining. But we’re not naive. We’ve been around way too long for that. We just believe that optimism inspires confidence and makes people feel good, so we choose to see the positive. Besides, we’re too resourceful to be pessimistic. We always know the best way forward and a backup in case they need it.


What it is

Positive, upbeat. We believe that customers will accomplish whatever they set out to do. It’s about how, not if. When adversity strikes, we see it as a bump, not a barrier. To keep them in a positive frame of mind, we try to avoid negative words. Except in rare cases, we deliver disappointment in a positive way and turn dead ends into opportunities.

Reassuring. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we do what we can to help before they need to ask for it. But when they do get stuck, we let them know they’re not alone and quickly get them back on track. We don’t just point them in the right direction; we walk them to their destination.


What it isn’t

Unrealistic. Running a business isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and we don’t act like it. We don’t promise that we’ll take care of everything or that it’ll all be perfect. So we don’t say things like “Super easy accounting software,” “Five seconds to your first P&L,” or “Painless payroll.” We’re careful not to set expectations that we can’t live up to.

Grating. Our optimism should never annoy customers or make them feel worse. When something bad does happen, we don’t ignore it by jumping to the bright side. If they get an unexpected tax notice, we’d never say, “Don’t worry! You got this.” But we might say, “Nobody likes to get a tax notice. But don’t worry, we can help you take care of it. Here’s what to do.”

How to get started

Get yourself in a positive frame of mind when you write for QuickBooks. If you’re stressed out or having a bad day, quickly write down 5 things that you’re thankful for. (Sounds cheesy, we know, but it works wonders.) Focus on the good, the potential, the possibilities. Believe that the customers you’re writing for are the fortunate few whose business or firm will make it 5, 10, and 15 years. Talk to them.

When you’re writing about things that intimidate customers—starting a difficult task, applying for a loan, setting up payroll—don’t ignore how they’re probably feeling. Validate them, but be careful not to make them feel worse. Consider telling them that other people feel that way too, instead of saying that the thing really is scary or hard. This is the difference between saying “Tax notices are scary” (don’t do that) and “Nobody likes finding a tax notice in the mail” (do that instead). But don’t just leave it at that. Focus on the payoff. Reassure them that you’ll help them. Remind them they really can do it.

At some point, you will have to deliver bad news—even if it’s that they entered the wrong password. Start by defining the situation and the cause. Imagine, for instance, that a customer can’t sign in because she typed the wrong password. Don’t just state the problem—“You entered the wrong password” or “The email and password don’t match.” Focus on solutions and how to move forward. Maybe say, “Forgot your password? Reset it if you need to.” Don’t blame or accuse them. But be careful: without hearing your tone, it’s easy for things to seem judgmental and passive aggressive. Think: “Did you forget your password again?” or “Looks like you forgot your password.”

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