One of the simple truths I constantly attempt to help Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) internalize is that they are "representatives" of the company for whom they work. To the customer, you are the company. Sure, most customers understand that the person they’re speaking with didn’t personally mess up their order or create the issue about which they are calling. Nevertheless, you represent the company who did. As a representative of the company, customers expect you to take responsibility and ownership for resolving the issue and communicating concern over their inconvenience.
That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to the customer when you talk about "they":
- "They" didn’t enter your order correctly
- "They" have been backed up lately and didn’t ship it on time
- "They" are experiencing system issues at the moment
- "They" instituted this policy that doesn’t make any sense
- "They" lost your order
- "They" gave you wrong information last time you called
- "They" didn’t note your account
In the customer’s mind, you are the company – you ARE the "they" that you are talking about. The use of "they" is a subtle device that, deep down, shifts blame away from ourselves and places it elsewhere. Yet, the customer is looking for someone to take responsibility – not make excuses and shift blame.