Do Personal Issues Damage Customer Service? - Column #155
There’s a tremendous amount of crossover between the personal and professional lives of people. Team members spend a lot of time and energy on the job rehashing — mentally and verbally — the unresolved and troubling personal challenges they face.
More often than you might realize, this situation leads to reduced productivity and efficiency, bad attitudes, a negative business environment, unfavorable interactions with customers and, ultimately, lost revenue. What business can afford to lose customers and revenue to behaviors that have no place in a top-notch company?
When any company representative transfers personal issues to a customer, it creates dissatisfaction, doubt and distrust in the heart and mind of that customer. For any business owner who desires to be successful, this is exactly opposite of the experiences you want your customers to enjoy.
As a customer yourself, it’s likely you’ve endured many unsavory experiences being treated poorly during the course of a business transaction. Did these experiences interrupt the pleasant flow of your day? Did you receive the value you were looking for? How did they make you feel? Were you inclined to never do business with those people or that company again? Did you tell others about your experience?
Awareness of this issue is vitally important. Whether it’s the owner, manager or another team member, people tend to get wrapped up in personal issues — issues that have nothing to do with fellow team members and customers. When this happens, they become self-consumed and blind to the reality of doing business, which has everything to do with taking care of others. No one wins when personal baggage comes through the front door and into the business environment.
The secret to creating a win-win situation here is the ability to shift gears. Rather than spending your day consumed by things happening outside of work, choose to use your time at your place of business as a much-needed break from what’s bothering you. Given the limitations to effectively address your situation while on the clock, choose to bring the best version of yourself to work and then deal with personal matters during lunch or at the end of the day.
The issues people carry with them are the result of things that happened in the past, while each new customer service experience occurs in the present. It’s imperative that ALL team members are coached on developing skills that allow them to shift out of what was then to effectively deal with what is now. That way, customers receive quality service without the negativity associated with previous and unrelated events that have nothing to do with them.
Remaining self-aware and able to consciously direct one’s self in the most constructive manner possible during each customer interaction is a learned skill. When team members are taught to remain present and composed, not take things personally, care deeply and treat others as they would want to be treated, their ability to provide exceptional customer service increases exponentially. This enhanced business model sets the stage for the caliber of customer service that leads to the growth and prosperity you want as a business owner.
Just one negative customer interaction at the hands of a team member bringing his or her personal issues to bear has a ripple effect that could cost you more than you’re willing to lose. Investing in your team’s professional development and its ability to provide exceptional customer service on a consistent basis produces a win-win situation.
Investing in high quality, on-going customer service training positions your entire team to meet and even exceed the wants and needs of your customers. Just as there’s a great deal of coaching and training that goes into producing a top-notch athlete, the same holds true for producing a top-notch team and company.
When team members become aware of their mindsets and behaviors and the outcomes they’re creating, and when they understand how to do things differently to produce better results, customer service rapidly improves. As the customer service your patrons receive rises to new levels in quality, greater customer satisfaction, increased referrals, improved business results and higher revenues follow. As a business owner, isn’t this what you desire?