There is one word that you should never be used in Customer Service situations. That word is in the first sentence of this post.

Can you guess what it it?

Well, that word is “you”

In Customer Service and Sales environments, we are often taught to be outward focused. We are taught to:

Look at situations from the Customer’s perspective, and

Stop worrying about ourselves, and to… Be empathetic.

These are all valid and worthwhile objectives, however they can sometimes be over-run by the way things are communicated, especially in confrontational environments.

The problem occurs when the word “you” is used in customer interactions. Here are some examples:

Prescriptive – You have to – do this or that

Presumptive – You shouldn’t – do this, or You want

Accusatory – You breached, or You yelled

Insulting – You didn’t understand

Guilty – You hurt me when

Condescending – I understand you

The condescending ‘you’ is often used in Sales situations to summarise the staff member’s understanding of the customer’s position.

Try changing the focus by removing the word ‘you’ from your vocabulary. For example:

Instead the following words : use these.

You have to > I would suggest

You shouldn’t > I would not

You breached > When the process wasn’t followed

You yelled > When the yelling started

You didn’t understand > Perhaps I didn’t make it clear

You hurt me when > I was hurt when

I understand you > I understand the need is

Try the same with business writing.

The ultimate way to be customer focused is to think about the customer, but internalise what s going on. Talk from the first person: talk about yourself, but in the context of the customer.