Notice Negative Employee Interaction? Customers Do Too!
I was waiting in an office to see a business owner for an appointment. The receptionist picked up a call, and after listening to the caller’s request, did something surprising.
Putting the caller on hold, she let out a loud, exasperated sigh, (tongue clicking, “UHHHH!!”) rolled her eyes, and stomped off yelling “SARRAA!! CALL!” Her annoyance and irritation were clear, and unpleasant to be around. Not exactly making one feel “Hey, I’d like to be a customer of this company!” More like wondering – if employees treat each other like this, how will they treat customers?
The irony? I was there to talk to her boss about improving communication between employees and creating better customer service!
Experience has shown me that behavior like this often has a history. Negative undercurrents often result when negative emotions have been avoided or not dealt with constructively in the workplace.
Does internal customer service – how employees relate to and serve each other – affect your organization’s external customer service? You bet it does! Let’s take a closer look.
Negative attitudes can be contagious. When inappropriate and disrespectful behavior is tolerated by leadership, it’s more likely that teams won’t be as productive, and more likely negativity will “leak out,” affecting what customers see, feel, and receive from employees.
The receptionist in the above example is the first interface of any would-be customer of the company. Her ineffectiveness at managing her emotions has a direct bearing on how her company might be perceived. How likely is she to be a high performer in customer service? According to Talent Smart’s research of more than 1 million people, 90% of top performers are skilled at managing emotions, enabling them to remain calm and in control.
Conflict and periodic tension are normal and expected at work. Make a commitment to support everyone (including yourself!) in being more effective in managing emotions and communicating effectively with customers. Coworkers and direct reports are customers too! Improving internal and external customer service will go a long way in increasing the retention of the customers you’ve worked so hard to win.
Hart Training Connection helps organizations to improve relationships between leaders, employees, and customers through leadership and communications skills training. Call on Amy Hart to assist your organization in improving internal and external customer service.