Skip to main content

Breaking News: Service Employees Are Being Rude To Customers

Ever stood at a counter while a surly employee completely ignores you?

If you're like many customers in a new Journal of Service Research study, you're taking your business elsewhere in a futile quest for "nice" employees with great customer interaction skills and a proper work ethic.

One-third of customers in the JSR study say they're being treated rudely by a service employee at least once a month and they're taking their business elsewhere. In a recession. When companies need sales. Is there really anything left to say? Well, actually, yes there is: Companies desperately need to give their service employees a sense of the big picture. Why should employees care about making customers happy? What does the company expect, service-wise? Why should these employees feel good about their jobs, and the company? Do employees view the company's mission statement as a bunch of B.S.? How can leaders lead by example? How do bad attitudes affect the bottom line, and by extension, staffing? What does it all mean long-term? How are employees rewarded for good service? How are the company's metrics (call volume quotas, time limits per customer, etc.) leaving customers in a mood to walk away?

job fails - Customer Service At Its Best
see more Monday Through Friday

These are obvious questions that aren't being answered for many of today's service employees. When you find yourself as the customer uttering "thank you" only to be met by a service worker's icy stare and dismissive attitude, you don't get a warm feeling about the entire company. In that moment, that employee is the company. Sure, I could reference study after study that dresses up the preceding paragraph in fancy business language complete with graphs and charts, but I think this pretty much sums it up. Oh, and thanks for letting me vent.


  1. For those interested in reading more about employee incivility, the paper has been made available by SAGE on its website at


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…