Winning the Point doesn’t Mean Winning over the Customer

Have you ever encountered an email battle with a customer going back and forth? One person tries to out-prove another person’s point in the email conversation. It can become a never-ending tit-for-tat back and forth for both of you, never relenting on the issue. In your head, you say to yourself, “ I should not be sending this email, but I know I am right.” Listen to that voice in your head. You are never going to win that point.

People generally don’t like being pointed out that they are wrong. No matter how right you may be in a conversation, your point will never be made by constantly challenging a customer.

The most important thing to remember is your objective; it is the same as having a successful transaction for a customer. Stop emailing if something needs extra clarification or if a customer needs to understand something from your perspective. The phone call is necessary, and it is the best way to not only allow your customer to vent but for you to explain your situation and how ultimately, your perspective is to help facilitate their needs. When all you are doing is trying to prove someone is wrong, it will make them feel bad, and they will leave the conversation with a bad sense of the transaction. When interacting with a customer, hubris has to be set aside. Humility is the order of the day. You understand that being right in a conversation will only be satisfying for you and a fleeting moment.

How do you prove your point and make the interaction a positive experience for all? How does the same point apply to managing people? You are already in a position of some power over those you are working with, so if your attitude is I am the boss, and I am right, you aren’t leading sincerely, and you will never get good buy-in from your constituents. If you find yourself in a contentious discussion via email or verbally, whether on the phone or in person, the first thing is not to let emotions control the conversation. If you are right in the discussion, you need to be delicate; remembering the same point as with a customer winning the issue for the second only makes you feel good and leaves your employee feeling not great about the conversation. Start with allowing them to explain their side and listen always listen first. Then start with facts; if the information you provide is facts, they can speak for themselves. Hopefully, discussing issues and explaining just like you would with a customer will highlight what is best for the organization. The facts and how they benefit the organization should win out. As a manager, we must remember that feeling right in a conversation or being the victor while trying to prove a point will make you look bad; you are already perceived in a better position. Put aside your pride and realize that being right isn’t achieving the results you think you will.

This week, try to face any confrontational email with a customer or employee with a different tact. Start with a conversation and listening, then engage with the facts of the matter with the understanding that the transaction or organization respectfully has to come for. If you like this post, please subscribe, connect on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter.

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