Using I, We, or You in Customer Service – 9/1/20

It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You.

The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more than we may realize and definitely more than we may be willing to admit.

So, in the world of customer service, there are some general rules of thumb.  I’m calling them general because there are exceptions to everything and there’s not a perfect formula for imperfect people serving imperfect people, but these rules might help us to escape bad situations and capitalize on the most positive opportunities.

When there are feelings involved, use the word “I.”

  • What I felt was…
  • I can understand how this could be frustrating…
  • I was upset, too.

This allows you to convey your feelings without assuming you know what others feel.  You have the right to feel what you feel, but we don’t have the right to tell other people what they do feel or should feel.

You is a great word to use when you’re fostering a relationship or conveying appreciation.

  • You did a great job with…
  • You conveyed that very clearly…
  • You’re very good at…

The use of the word You allows the other person to feel, appropriately, that your accolade is attributed to them. It takes a thought that might be in your mind and puts it into words in a positive way to build the other person up.

We is a great word when you’re trying to foster teamwork or find a solution to move away from an issue.

  • What we need to do in order to address this is…
  • We can still accomplish your goal if we consider an alternative…
  • We can work on a solution together to keep this moving…

 

We conveys that it’s a collaboration on an issue or need.  Particularly when the other person has a big part in the solution to a problem, using We makes the burden feel a little bit less on their shoulders.

Appropriately use I, We, You when trying to convey feelings, share appreciation, or foster teamwork.

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Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week

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