When it comes to customer service, ‘I’ beats the corporate ‘we’ for boosting satisfaction and buying behaviour.
The adage “there is no ‘I’ in team” is a handy refrain used to emphasize the importance of teamwork in just about any setting, but new University of Alberta research shows that “I” works best alone when it comes to customer service.
In a study looking at how firms should talk to customers, Sarah Moore, a marketing professor in the Alberta School of Business, found that when customer representatives use “I” instead of “we” in consumer interactions, customers are more satisfied and tend to purchase more.
“Firms have a pretty strong lay belief that their agents should use ‘we’ to refer to the agent and the firm, rather than using ‘I’ to refer to themselves as an individual,” said Moore. “But we found that using ‘I’ is actually better.”
She said “I” pronouns increase perceptions of the agent’s empathy and agency. In turn, that inc...