Your Customers Don’t Deserve To Be Treated This Way

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It was the attitude I disliked the most.  Why do they feel this way?  Where did they get their lack of thoughtfulness?  Why don’t they care about the customer?  These kids have no work ethic anymore, I just don’t understand…

Those in a position to hire face it every day.  Potential employees who in years past wouldn’t receive the time of day from a hiring manager now line up and “expect” a coveted customer-facing position at your company. Do they deserve it?  What have they done to make you believe your customer would be better off with him or her assisting in the sale?  Should you give him a chance?

We will see later how important this decision will become…

After a tough assessment you send him the offer letter and explain his job duties.  The first day of work arrives and he’s ushered through your HR Department.

Form after form is completed, the property walk-thru done and countless introductions made.  He’s promptly moved to his department, but still very much in the honeymoon faze and unaware of his place in the company. Is he ready to go?  Of course not, there’s still the training to do.

He’s handed off from HR manager to Department Head to Immediate Supervisor.  Somewhere during this process the company mission statement is discussed along with policies and procedures until he settles in and his work space it filled with the personal trinkets and comforts of home.  He’s all set to go.

That’s where the problems begin…

3 Reasons Why We Fail Our Customer
  1. We spend too much time focusing on what a new employee must do to fit in to the company’s expectations and formulaic mold of success but little time preparing him for the methods of customer service.
  2. Senior management lives in silos dependent on their self satisfaction and protectionism.
  3. Ownership makes business decisions based on static facts and figures far removed from the effect they have on the customer.

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Is this the best we can do?

Some other questions to ask…

How do we treat our customers professionally?

How do we make our customers feel special?

According to eConsultancy3*:

  • Only about a quarter (26%) of companies have a well-developed strategy in place for improving customer experience.
  • 41% of respondents state that organizational structure is a significant barrier – in other words operational silos.
  • 38% of respondents state that one of the three biggest problems is the complexity of customer experience, given the growing number of touch points (mobile, phone, retail outlets, email, etc.).

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Getting back to that applicant and our decision to hire him… We blame his lack of “customer care” to poor social skills and his lax work ethic on laziness.  But there is more to it. How has management set him up for success?

  • He wasn’t given a coach or mentor to be available along his journey to becoming a valued member of the team
  • He’s indoctrinated on the accolades of the company with little emphasis on how they came to be and the efforts to provide value to the customer
  • He “learned” to not question management and that their decisions were “always best”.

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Looking for reasons why we fail our customer?  Just answer this question next time management gets together…

Is this the best we can do?

*Econsultancy, Multichannel Customer Experience Report, November 2011

23 COMMENTS

  1. Hmm! Hey Steve, this is thought provoking piece! It is true that management often is the cause of poor customer service experience.

    I think it is important that every organization set up the customer service employee in a way that he/she should be personally inspired to deliver value.

    One takeaway for me here is that the employee on the ‘front desk’ must be trained to improve customer experience and this can be achieved beyond infusing the companies culture!

  2. Hi Steve,

    I guess the customer service employee is ‘unfairly’ blamed whenever there is the issue of customer dissatisfaction. This will only be acceptable when the product is right, the promotion is in order.

    However, the fact remains that the right product and the promotion will not make sense to the customer if the expectation is eroded by poor attendance and support.

    The eConsultancy3’s stats are alarming somewhat and management should learn and start making customers feel satisfied.

  3. Hi Steve,

    What you said about “Senior management lives in silos dependent on their self satisfaction and protectionism” kind of got me reflecting on the actual roles management play on the survival of the company.

    This approach never leave room for good decision making based intuition, gut and sensitivity.

    New employees with senior management that has built impenetrable silos would never be able to help customers get the satisfaction they deserve.

  4. Hi Steve,

    Indeed, this is an important question: how has management set up the employee for success with the customers?

    Until a clear answer is provided to this question, management would still be blaming the poor customer care to poor social skills and laziness to work ethics.

    The real “root” of the problem – which emanates from management – must be uprooted to bring about total customer satisfaction! A very reflective post, I must say!

  5. Satisfying the customer of today is very complex. The marketer must ensure that every need of the customer is readily addressed.

    I guess more encouragement should be provided to customer service staff to give customers the best of value and satisfaction.

    Indeed, the focus of management should gear towards increasing the value provided customers. This is could be through customer service training and other strategies.