Monday, June 17, 2024

What Are Your Non-“Front Line” People Saying to Your Customers?

Have you thought about how employees who aren’t your usual “customer service providers” in your company affect your customers?

These are the people who don’t get customer service training because they don’t often interact with customers. They could be in accounting, maintenance, production, or information services. Or shuttle services.

When they do interact with customers, what are they saying? How does their interaction influence your customers? Here’s an example. I was taking a shuttle to pick up my rental car. I overheard the driver sharing a story with another customer.

“See that rabbit? There are lots of rabbits in these fields. Last week one ran in front of the bus, and I didn’t have time to swerve. I ran right over him. We heard a tha-thump as he went under my wheels.

“Well, there’s this little kid sitting here in the front with his mom. He sees the rabbit, then hears the tha-thump. He says, ‘What was that?’ I said, ‘I guess it was the Easter Bunny.’ He starts bawling! Some kids can’t take a joke.”

Imagine yourself as this little boy’s mom. How do you feel about this representative of the car rental company? How, then, do you feel about the company? Are you likely to go out of your way to rent from this company again?

Imagine yourself sitting with me on the shuttle when I heard the story. How do you feel about this driver’s sensitivity? Do you, at some level, worry that this attitude is shared by his co-workers?

Do you wonder what kind of management would hire and not coach someone with this kind of inappropriate behavior? Are you on guard when you approach the next employee at the rental counter?

This may have been an isolated incident by one employee. However, many of us globalize this behavior. We might feel that not only did this employee have bad judgment about his comment to the little boy, but he may have bad judgment about other things as well. We may even globalize his behavior and feel that others in the company share this kind of insensitivity. It may color how we perceive actions by other employees too. We may look for other indiscretions to prove our perceptions right. And if we find them, we may decide not to rent from this company again.

The bottom line is: even non- “front line” employees need to be trained and coached to ensure that everyone is responding appropriately any time they interact with customers. We never know who may be listening.

Rebecca L. Morgan, CSP, is a dynamic speaker, author and seminarist. Contact her at 1440 Newport Ave., San Jose, CA 95125, 408/998-7977, 800/247-9662, fax: 408/998-1742. Please contact Rebecca for permission to reprint or repost this item.

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