Saturday, November 25, 2006

What Do Your Employees Reflect

I walked into a small shop yesterday that sold a variety of things to do with gaming, computers etc, but this could have been any store large or small by the way. I walked in and looked around and there were no labeled isles or shelves or sections to help in a self service environment, so I went to identify/find a clerk in order to inquire about some specific products. There were perhaps 15 other customers in the store and it was impossible to tell them from the floor clerk or other staff, if in fact there were any working the sales area.

Next I went over to the checkout counter and there sitting behind the counter were two employees hard at work on what seemed to be there lunch and immersed in a deep conversation focused on topics other than what there job discription reflected. I stood there for upward of 2 to 3 minutes before they looked at me. They then very sharply said "talk to the floor clerk. We have one". I said I don't see one out there would you point him out to me. At this the young lady said "he's in the corner go look", and turned back to her food as though i wasn't worthy of her attention. Hmmm, I thoughtabout this for a moment, and of course I couldn't let it go, so I forced them to stop eating and answer my question. Needless to say, I didn't buy anything and left the store.

In reflection I concluded that the store had no customer service policy let along standardization for employee behavior nor did the owner/manager care about how the customers felt about their erperience while shopping in the store. Employees should never eat at the customer cvounter or anywhere in the common work area for that matter, especially in front of the customers, it's first of all rude and it sends to your customers a message that says they are not important. All employees should of had well marked name tags or clothing or both in order to be identified easily. Third, and last in this observation is that the employees needed to be trained in how to address the customers and how to put the customer first. especially in the manner in which they addressed and answered questions.

The sad thing here is that this situation is prevalent in most small B2C (consumer bassed) businesses. It also happens in B2B more often than you would like to think, especially with office staff when a customer walks in unexpectedly or calls to trying to reach his contact point. These behaviors and lack of training have explicit negative reflections on the business and the customer’s perception of that business and its brand.

We invite your open comments as always.


Meikah Delid said...

Hi, Tim! I've encountered situations like these many times! And it's really annoying! Apparently, these businesses don't know yet the value of giving good customer experience. I'm running some posts on service philosophy and service standards. Hope they learn from it. :-D

Mary Schmidt said...

it's sad but true that we actually expect this type of service these days. We are thrilled if somebody actually does their job!

That said, I've decided I'm going to start calling the employees on their rudeness. Training, schmaining. And, youth is no excuse. They should know the basics of how to interact with fellow human beings. Most of them wouldn't treat somebody they know like they treat a "faceless" customer. "Did I say something that offended you? Is that why you're being so rude to me when I'm just trying to give your company some business?" Should be an interesting experiment in any event.

On the positive side, I also am doing my best these days to greet service people with a smile, a brief greeting and eye contact - even when I'm in a big hurry (it's only a few seconds after all) even(particularly) when they don't look friendly or receptive. Most of the time, they start smiling in return. So there is hope. ;-)

Donna Cutting said...

Isn't it the truth? This is our experience more often than not! Smart leaders know that to give consistent red-carpet customer service it is imperative that you have clear, well-defined service standards, hold employees accountable for meeting them, and provide training, training, training.

Vcare call centers said...

I also have many experiences about bad customer service some of that like
I went to one shop and owner knows that selling thing is livelihood for him but he was watching movie rather than to attend me with full attention and loss lot of money from me, second incident of mine I called to credit card’s customer care department and receiver don’t know how to answer call and how to speak with customer, he was speaking with me as speaking with his friend and floor manager also was not there (on floor), it was really very bad call.

Anonymous said...

With electronic commerce growing so rapidly, businesses need to examine critical elements that could influence users' perceptions of business-to-business and business-to-consumer electronic commerce.

Gerald said...

Why is it so important that you have your hand held like a child? I'm sure the store is clearly labled and broken into specific sections based on consumer needs. Read a sign.