When I have a difference of opinion with someone, I hate when they are so absolute about something. No, you never sent that! No, you didn’t tell me that! You know what I am talking about? It’s why we have all gotten so good at covering our (selves) though email. I know I always like to have a trail of what I discussed with someone so there can be no confusion later. But that’s different than using it as ammunition to say, “I told you so.”
We know the customer is not always right, but they always think they are. And where does it get us to prove them wrong? As long as you have the documentation to make sure you don’t get held responsible for something you did not do wrong, you need not use it in your discussions with your coworkers, boss or customers. Here are 2 different responses to the same example:
You know you wrote an email to a coworker about following up with a customer on a work order. In the response email the coworker said that she would contact the customer to give them the update. She is now insisting that you were supposed to give the customer the update. You go back and forth about it for quite a while and then…
1. You whip out the email and show her where she said she would contact the customer.
2. You stop the madness and say something like, “We obviously have a difference of opinion here. The most important thing is to get back to the customer. Would you like me to contact them?’
What’s the upside to response #1? You win, but your coworker is embarrassed or mad, and the customer has not been attended to.
What’s the upside to response #2? The customer wins, and no one walks away mad.
Clearly if this is a chronic issue with your coworker, you need to address it, but it’s usually not best to address it in the heat of the moment. Go back later and summarize what has transpired in the past and brainstorm about better ways to communicate in the future. Perhaps email doesn’t work for her. She will be able to accept her mistake easier if you are in private and you approach it from a “how can we do better” standpoint.
If you really need to prove you were right, prove it to yourself, and keep it to yourself. No need to rub someone’s nose in it.
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com