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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?

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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.

Comments

  1. For those interested in reading more about employee incivility, the paper has been made available by SAGE on its website at http://jsr.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/04/15/1094670511404393.full.pdf+html.

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