How poor customer service attitudes can ruin your business

By Cate Schreck - Service Excellence Coach

I recently went shopping on behalf of my Mum. Part of my expedition was to return a shirt that Mum had purchased on-line. I walked into the shop and was greeted with, well, nothing. I saw the shop assistant, she saw me and that's where things started to go wrong.

(Let's refer to the shop assistant as PA - Poor Attitude)

Over the course of the next 15 minutes, PA managed to break so many customer service rules that I started to wonder if I was being set up. PA was so good at being bad, I was sure I must have been on candid camera.

Alas, it was not a set up. Here's just a few examples of how PA displayed her poor attitude to customer service:

  • No eye contact - not once
  • I had to wait at the counter whilst PA finished hanging up some clothes
  • Whilst I was explaining why I was there, the phone rang so PA answered it - no apology
  • PA chatted on the phone to a co-worker and shared a story about how upset she was with her Manager
  • PA hung up the phone and then made me repeat what I had already said

You might be thinking I'm exaggerating...I'm not...and there's more...

  • As I was repeating my story, a delivery arrived. PA signed for that and had a laugh with the delivery driver
  • PA asked why I was returning the shirt. When I said it didn't fit, PA suggested my Mum probably didn't check the size correctly when she ordered it.
  • PA processed the refund, threw the top into a basket and said goodbye

Here's how customers process poor service.

  1. That was rude, inconsiderate, lazy, --------- (insert applicable word)
  2. I'm not going back there unless I have to and if I have to, I won't go in smiling
  3. I must tell everyone I know so they don't go there either
  4. I'll probably forget the name of the service person but I won't forget the name of the business.

Some customers may give the employee the benefit of the doubt, but most won't. 

Everyone I meet has a story like this. As customers we love sharing these stories with our friends, family, co-workers and sometimes just anyone who will listen.

When a customer feels dis-respected it hits a nerve and sometimes that nerve won't settle until they achieve some form of retribution. With social media at our finger tips, our need to debrief can be global.

I know how valuable my experience would be for the business to hear about, so I rang and spoke to the Manager the next day. The Manager was most grateful that I took the time to call and very eager to hear all about my experience. The Manager valued the feedback and confirmed he could now take the steps to help the employee.

Most customers won't tell the business about a bad service experience.

If you have employees with a poor customer service attitude, or you're concerned you don't know how your customers feel about the service your staff provide, Lightbulb Training Solutions can help.

Contact Us for your free Customer Service Analysis. We will share with you the 3 key areas you must address to create a culture of service excellence.