What’s Your Perspective?

Poor customer service is often rooted in the way a message is delivered to customers. I am an optimist and believe it isn’t the intent of most employees to upset customers. However, I do believe- and have experienced on both sides- employees that have an "us vs. them" mentality, always assuming the worst in customers.

These employees (often fueled by their leaders) will go to lengths ensure that customers don’t “buck the system” or “break the rules”. So, they approach their interactions and decisions with dis-trust for the customer; telling them what they CAN’T do, correcting them, and scolding them when they mis-step.

Consider this simple example:

Late in the evening a man parks in the department store parking lot and walks toward the store. While approaching the entrance, an employee collecting carts in the parking lot, screams, “We’re closed!”

This made the customer feel embarrassed for being “yelled at”, and the customer thinks, “Yikes- why did that guy have to yell at me?” Embarrassment turns to anger and as a result of the employee’s poor messaging, the customer has a terrible service experience.

Poor Service Chain

Us vs. them mentality

       Dis-trust customers

              Poor messaging

                     Customer embarrassment

                            Customer anger

                                   Poor service experience

This poor service chain is prevalent across all industries, in B to C and B to B interactions and even with internal customers- surely you have experienced several examples yourself. The fixes listed below apply to each of these situations.

6 Easiest Fixes to Avoid Poor Service Messges:
  1. Agree that customers are trustworthy
  2. Ask customers for cooperation with the behavior they are trying to elicit
  3. Use proper tone
  4. Isolate the communication to just the customer- avoid creating an audience
  5. Ask the customer how you can help
  6. Provide alternate options

This is so simple and so doable, but so rarely done.

Employees often lack the emotional intelligence to understand that they are embarrassing customers through their choice of words, tone, and heaven forbid, their volume. Rather than giving customers the benefit of the doubt, or trusting that they aren’t trying to cause issues, they assume the worst and react as such- creating avoidable experience busters. 

Again, this poor service behavior is rooted in the us vs. them mentality: that customers cause issues and are trying to buck the system. When we eradicate this perspective, we will naturally deliver more courteous messages- and partner with our customers to create mutually beneficial customer experiences!


ABOUT DONNELLY EFFECT: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and Hiring, Employee Onboarding, Customer Experience, Workplace Culture and Leadership- among others. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2004, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney training to audiences across the United States.