6 Never to be Forgiven Sins of Customer Service
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Bad service attitudes, by management & employees alike, will eventually force customers away from your business and possibly away from your clients. And that is not a good thing for you or the company, much less the employees.
I have worked with many people in my career, from security officers, day laborers, hotels, fast food, telephone sales, and c-stores. I have noticed these attitudes that can sink someone’s job as well as adversely affect the company.
For her birthday a few years ago, I took my wife out to get a new phone, in purple, her favorite color. We had heard that there were a limited number of these available and they had to be ordered. We got to the company-owned phone store and were met with a very pregnant sales clerk.
Don’t think of me as insensitive to her condition but she should have stayed home and not gone to work that day. She was uncomfortable, possibly sick, rude, surly, incompetent, & refused to try and find the phone my wife had her heart set on. But worse…she let it show in her attitude and demeanor, refusing to search other stores for the phone and even refusing to go into the back of the store to check to see if the computer had made a mistake!
Look at these examples below and see whether or not your employees fall into any of these categories or not. I’m willing to bet that you do. And if you do then you may have a problem you have to remedy before losing…
Why the hell should I care?
Far too many employees fall into this abyss of the customer no-service trap. It usually occurs when they get bored and nobody is there to remind them just how important their jobs really are. The job they are performing is important to the store, company, customer, & eventually themselves.
They show this attitude, as with most, by their bored looks, lackadaisical attitude, and in actions when attempting to assist the customer, no matter what it may be. Even if it is just checking the inventory for a phone.
There are employees of other service-related companies as well as retail, construction, medical, and many industries that also do this. They really could care less about their customers and are simply there for a paycheck and acting as they care.
Who the hell are you to ask me that?
An employee does their best to brush off a customer by telling them something like ‘That’s not my job. How many times have you heard that from someone? And then they turn away to tend to other duties or ‘busy work and subtly ignore you, all the while trying to pretend they’re still interested?
Again, how many times have you encountered someone who communicates that they are hostile, unfriendly, inconsiderate, or impatient, in other words as cold as an Antarctic winter? We usually don’t want to be around someone like this and neither does the customer unless there are no other options. These people who act like the South Pole can be risking not only their job but the jobs of others as well as the health of the business.
Do you like being talked to like an idiot or an uninformed dolt? Of course, you don’t! Customers don’t like it very much either. Take care that you don’t talk down to the customer, because it will be remembered. And when it is remembered by a customer, then it may result in missing the opportunity to gain an account, a new customer, or favorable impressions.
This will always occur when an employee gets bored or has to complete long tedious or repetitive work, and sometimes because inadequate training has left them unprepared for their duties. They greet all customers the same, they tell all customers the same and give them all the same smile.
Generally, this occurs when on the 3rd shift and they feel like they’ve been forgotten. Which in many instances they have been. very common on busy shifts like days. Those officers are just tired of greeting and waiting on people. If they haven’t been forgotten, have they been adequately trained to keep this from happening?
Time for exercise but only by The Book
Many businesses encourage their employees to utilize this approach. “I’m sorry, but there is nothing that I can do”. This is where what the company or employee wants takes precedence over what the customer wants. Is this necessarily a bad thing?
A good example that everyone can relate to is a governmental agency or some level of customer no service: No one can or is willing to give you an answer for anything and they keep passing you around to another department or person or transferring your call or department or person or transferring your call … you get the idea.
No one can change your delivery of service but yourself. There is no excuse for anything in bad service. If you get a rude, surly, arrogant SOB of a customer, you can’t let it bother you. You have to let it roll off your back like water off a duck.
While some of the above-mentioned areas are worse than others, they will produce the same negative effects. Feelings towards the client, yourself, and the company that may in the end cost you a contract, pay raise, or new equipment that you just may need.
Having been in security for more than 40 years, and being a customer my entire life, I’ve seen all of these attitudes. Unfortunately, the trend for these people is ticking upward. It’s up to management to make the changes in service delivery and ensure that it’s followed…religiously!
This is an excerpt from my book Unconventional Customer Service: How-to Break the Rules to Provide Unparalleled Service, available on Amazon and published in 2018
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Copyright 2023 Robert D. Sollars