Tip: Increase purchase intent by speaking for yourself ("I") instead of the company ("we")

Thanks to an outdated study, it's common practice to speak as the company ("we") when communicating with customers. Instead, increase satisfaction and purchase intent by speaking for yourself ("I").

The vast majority (92%) of customer service managers use the pronoun "we" instead of "I" when interacting with customers. This may be due to the findings of a 1982 study, which advised downplaying the self in favor of the company. But a much more recent study (2018) has shown that this approach may no longer be applicable. Customers were up to 19% more satisfied and had a 15% higher purchase intent when the speaker said "I" instead of "we". Put simply, the former sounds emotionally involved while the latter sounds distant, and customers like the former. This effect seems to work for all customer service communications (inquiries, complaints, etc.) and may extend into other realms such as sales and PR. It also works across mediums (email, in-person, etc.).

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  1. 3

    Interesting finding, thanks for sharing!

  2. 3

    This conversation comes up from time to time and I’m glad to see it backed by the original and newer studies. Thanks!

  3. 3

    Great tip! Thank you!

    1. 2

      Thank you for spreading the knowledge!
      For who's interested, research co-author Grant Packard (https://www.grantpackard.com/) has done a lot of great research along Jonah Berger (https://jonahberger.com/) about how things spread/sell by tweaking language.
      I've covered or will be covering quite a few of their studies on Ariyh

  4. 1

    Also it's effective to use you, your, yours in direct copywriting, it sounds like personalized copy for the each visitor. For example "Download your book" instead of "Download our new book" , or "Send Your Message" instead of "Send Message".

    1. 1

      Great point — I think that definitely helps in copywriting. Interestingly, though, the study found that saying "you" in customer service had no impact 🤷‍♂️

      1. 2

        Yes, copywriting is different than direct communication with clients, you have to be personal through a text instead of spoken words and context behind it is different. For direct one-on-one communication it's also recommended to use client's name during the presentation or sale process, which is definitely overused by care sellers, on timeshare presentations, etc. Concept behind it that clients (in general) like to hear their name and feel personal "touch".

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