BSF. It's a real problem for many businesses.

I recently went shopping for a new bedspread. I was in a really good mood, I’d had a great night’s sleep, the weather was wonderful, parking was easy and even the birds seemed to be singing my favourite tunes. It was one of the days where everything just seemed to be in my favour.

And then it happened. As I entered a home-wares store I could feel the atmosphere change almost immediately. Something was not right. I looked around and there it was; BSF.

Bad Service Face.

The customer service person was staring into space with a look of thunder. I don’t know what had happened for her face to be so dark, stormy and unwelcoming but I was in such a good mood that I thought, maybe she needs me? Yes, that’s it! I was drawn into this shop to help her.

I gave her my biggest and cheeriest “Hi, how are you?” and her verbal response was…nothing. I think the corners of her mouth turned up slightly and she did make eye contact but it was so cold I looked away... and walked out the door; with her wage still in my bank account.

Customers won’t know why and many won’t care if a customer service provider is having a bad day. Customers of all industries expect excellent service and for employees to have the skills to provide it all day every day, regardless of what is going on in their world.

You probably expect this of your team too but expecting it does not make it happen.

3 Steps to help remove BSF from your workplace:

1.     Encourage self-awareness

Part of being a great service provider is understanding and developing a level of self-awareness.  Encourage staff to assess their state of mind before they commence their shift/day. Some staff will find it easy to shake off negativity but for those employees who are feeling anything less than positive, friendly and helpful – move them on to Step 2.

2.     Confirm you value effort

Encourage staff to admit when they are feeling distracted or negative and confirm that you value the extra effort they are making. This allows you to identify staff with higher level support needs but also reduces the chance of high performing staff feeling taken for granted. Staff who have to “fake” a great service attitude for a long period of time, may wonder if you notice and eventually stop bothering.

3.     Provide regular soft skill training

Soft skills are our people skills and that’s what customers assess to determine if the business provides excellent service. You don’t have to pay for soft skills training;

  1. Show what you know. Show your staff how to provide great service
  2. Put up posters/visual aids. Remind everyone of the value of a smile, eye contact and a    friendly tone of voice.
  3. Watch your staff in action. Give them on the spot feedback on how they could do more or better and acknowledge when they meet or exceed your service standards.

The more you encourage staff to self-assess and self-manage their customer service behaviours, the less time you will spend handling customer complaints and wondering where all your customers have gone.  

If you want help creating a team of people who provide consistently excellent service to your customers, contact us now.

By Cate Schreck - Service Excellence Coach and Author of The A - Z of Service Excellence.