A short blog about a BIG customer service problem.
Change in a workplace requires a transition period for staff. Some staff may adapt quickly and seek to help others embrace the new, some may be suspicious and want more information before they move forward and others may see flaws and be frustrated by what they consider an unnecessary or poorly executed change.
A recent workplace change that has grabbed mainstream and social media headlines is of course, the removal of the single use plastic bags at some Australian Supermarkets.
This particular change has layers of impact; the health of our environment, the reputation of the Supermarket, the habits, hearts and pockets of the customers and of course, the layer that I am passionate about - the frontline employees of the Supermarkets.
Recently I witnessed a Supermarket frontliner receive a very loud and very public dressing down about the cost of a multi-use plastic bag. Our frontliner survived and surrounding customers told her she did well, but the tears welling and the fake smile were evidence of the real impact.
In the last 8 year I've trained over 4,000 frontline employees in the art of customer service excellence and all of them have a story about a customer who has 'shaken them up'. A majority have stories about difficult customer situations that happened months or even years ago, but the individual tells the story like it was yesterday.
For them, it still feels like it was yesterday. For them, there was no closure. For them, the after shock continues.
If you think I'm being dramatic, you've not spent enough time on the frontline.
If you manage/lead/supervise staff who are the first point of contact for your business please, give your frontline team the support they need to not only survive but thrive during all types of customer interaction; the good, the difficult, the loud and the rude.
Give them the knowledge and skills to handle face to face, telephone and written customer complaints AS WELL AS the skills to manage the 'after shock' that these types of customer interactions can create.
The effects of difficult customer interactions, particularly on new or inexperienced staff, can be just as damaging and just as long-term as the single use plastic bags.
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By Cate Schreck - Author of "The A-Z of Service Excellence"