Ever walked into a supermarket, excited and ready to spend that cash burning in your pocket only to change your mind, place back the items on the shelf, drop that shopping basket just anywhere and walk out frustrated because of an in-store staff’s awful attitude? YES? It happens a lot and it doesn’t have to be a supermarket. It could be a restaurant, a fuel station, a taxi, anywhere.
We are human and while you should leave your problems home when going to work, your problems are part of you—ignore them all you can but it’s only natural that something will trigger your inner stress at some point and unfortunately this might happen when a customer walks your way and sometimes it really is not so much your fault because customers may be kings but often than not prove to be a necessary pain. Whatever the reasons for a nasty attitude it is not excusable especially when it chases away customers, frustrates loyal clients and makes you losses.
Let’s say everything else business-wise is perfect. You have a great location, expensive interior décor for your store or office, state-of-the-art anything and the best qualified team around. Every business deals with human beings and these are sensitive—we love to feel important, recognized, appreciated and listened to even when we don’t do the same for other people. For this reason, a nasty attitude from any of your staff, manager, attendant, receptionist, security guard, will be the evil wand that makes ugly everything about your business that you thought was perfect. When a customer is upset or frustrated, they stop seeing the good things and almost everything turns into ‘poor quality’, ‘sub-standard’, ‘annoying’ which explains the outrage expressed sometimes or the tendency for a dissatisfied customer to leave as soon as possible.
Now, this would be easier to deal with if customers just gave feedback right there and then. This happens sometimes and worsens situations into unforgettable embarrassing moments when the customer gets so angry, they express it physically or loud enough for the rest of the world to hear.
It would be so much easier if it was all about employees dealing with personal problems at home and not carrying them to work. Unfortunately, most employees deal with additional stress caused by an unfriendly workplace, unreasonable boss, and unrealistic work expectations, or hellish work conditions. Are your staff unhappy, feeling overworked, ignored, underpaid, job insecure, mistrusted, dealing with some kind of harassment? Chances are high the answer is, YES! Which brings us to the elephant in the room, YOU! BOSS!
It’s naturally expected to shift the blame. When a customer is unhappy, it seems more convenient to blame the ‘clumsy’ employee, threaten them and even fire them. But for as long as you the Boss don’t take time to reflect on how you might be contributing to the problem, you’re going to hire and fire so many amazingly good people, customers are going to keep getting frustrated and leaving, all because you are not being honest enough to tackle the problem. If you are the boss and are in active leadership or supervision over your employees, chances are that your personal frustrations, stress, weaknesses, are contagious enough to subconsciously affect the mood, behavior and productivity of your staff especially if you haven’t mastered healthy ways to deal with them.
Whatever is bothering you, whatever it is you are dealing with—make sure it is properly addressed as soon as possible. Create an understanding work environment in which your staff feel encouraged to communicate their frustrations and you make it a point to find healthy and professional ways to assist your staff deal. Explain to your team the importance of approaching customers with a friendly and professional attitude compare to the negative consequences of nasty attitudes. Develop effective strategies that everyone on your team can utilize when dealing with a dissatisfied customer situation and if possible, encourage this to be handled in teams of 2. If one staff is clearly having a difficult time with a customer, any other staff available or nearby may intervene to reduce stress on both sides and handle the situation more calmly.