Four words that will change your business

Katharine C. Giovanni

My number one business tip of all time?

Switch out the words “you’re welcome” to “it was my pleasure.”

Many of you have heard me tell this to people. What you might not have heard is WHY I tell people to do this.

In today’s high-tech world where we are all actively staring at our phones, true customer service tends to get lost. You say “thank you” to someone, and you might get a quick “sure” or a nod of their chin. Saying “it was my pleasure” is a display of authentic kindness. When someone is expressing their gratitude by saying “thank you”, answering with a casual “no problem” or “it’s nothing” trivializes and devalues it.

Is THAT how you want someone to feel after an interaction with you?

Saying “it was my pleasure” immediately raises you to an entirely new level of customer service. Actually, it raises the bar for you personally as well as it makes you stand apart from everyone else around you. An exceedingly polite “it was my pleasure” makes people think. It stops them dead in their tracks.

People might not remember what you said or did for them, but they will ALWAYS remember the feeling they walked away with.

This is why the last interaction with you is the most important as THAT is the one they remember.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about…

I used to go for CAT scans all the time when I was recovering from breast cancer. I often strike up a conversation with the hospital staff while I’m there. Being a concierge and front line trainer, it’s become a habit to talk to people I stumble across during the day. If I can help just one person, it makes my day!

When we arrived, my husband and I parked in the lot of the hospital, walked into the reception area, signed in, and quietly sat down to wait for them to call my name. Ron has been a pillar of strength through my cancer nightmare and has been solidly by my side for every appointment, surgery and treatment. Seven years later and he STILL comes with me to appointments. When they called my name, I walked over to the woman behind the first door so I could be registered for the test.

“Good morning Mrs. Giovanni” she said brightly as I walked through the glass door.

Is it a GOOD thing that everyone here knows me by name? I wondered as I sat down.

“Are you the one who taught me to say ‘it was my pleasure‘ a few months ago?” she immediately asked me.

“Yes, yes I am” I said to her smiling.

“Oh, I’m so glad I’m the one checking you in today! I’ve been wanting to thank you for weeks now. I’ve been saying that ever since I saw you and the response has been amazing. Patients and staff are not only treating me better and with more respect, but I’m getting so much positive feedback! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. My supervisor loves it and said I might get moved up!”


I’ve seen changes in people, but this one was incredible. The last time I was there, I walked in and was greeted with nothing. No smile. No greeting. Just a head nod indicting I should take a seat. It was all very robotic. The tone of her voice was so flat it took my breath away. So out of habit, I struck up a conversation with her to see if I could get her to at least smile at me. We chit chatted for a few minutes and eventually I got her to laugh. I then quickly told her what I did for a living and gave her a few customer service tips. One of my favorite tips is to swap out “you’re welcome” for “it was my pleasure” as it takes your customer service level up at least five notches. Just that one little thing changes the entire energy of the conversation and brings your level of service to an entirely new level.

Just four simple words changed her entire outlook! Even more amazing was that it got her noticed by her supervisor which she said might lead to a promotion. Now THAT’s a positive change! The negativity was completely gone, and a warm, friendly and approachable woman was now sitting in front of me. What a difference!

So here’s my challenge to all of you… start saying “it was my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” for the next week and see what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that are the most powerful.

Katharine C. Giovanni

Written by

Award-winning author, speaker, and concierge & front-line staff trainer/consultant. One of original founders of independent concierge industry.

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