You NEED To… (??)

Respect, decency, and courtesy are foundational measures of society. A heavy-handed approach without caring for the feelings of another is a sure way to lose a friend. And it’s even worse when done to a customer.

Have you ever had a salesperson or customer service rep tell you something in a way that came across as rude or uncaring? I bet you did and didn’t realize it. Have you ever been told:

  • You need to fill out this form
  • You need to wait until you’re called
  • You need to come back later

I’m sorry, but as a customer of any business, the only thing I “need to” do is pay for the product or service that you’re providing.

Those who work in busy businesses sometimes forget that they are dealing with people. People with feelings who deserve to be treated with respect – especially if you want them to return. But after serving person after person, their brain seems to shut down and each new person becomes a blur. They stop personalizing their service and now focus on moving the customers through the line as quickly as possible.

Their communication skills shut down and statements turn from helpful guidance to giving demanding directions.

Here’s another example of “you need to”:

Ever have a clerk or customer service rep say something like this to you?

You need to go down this hall then make a left” or You need to take this receipt to that counter over there…”

They should be saying this instead…

  • “The item you are looking for is just down the hall and to the left. Would you like me to assist you”? Or,
  • “Could you please take this receipt to my coworker Mary at the other counter? She will be happy to assist you.

This isn’t a big change in words but is a BIG change in attitude and a more respectful approach to the customer.


The customer should never feel that they must jump through hoops just to find, pay for, or return a product. If any of these become a burden, expect them to not be a customer for long.

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Author: Steve DiGioia

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