Stellar Customer Experience: Is Unconscious Bias Ruining Service?

Stellar Customer Experience: A Story of Unconscious Bias Ruining Service

As leaders focus more on stellar customer experience, they may be overlooking a hidden factor that can ruin it — unconscious bias. Is this happening in your organization? Here’s how to assess it.



Stellar Customer Experience: Image is people in an airplane.

Stellar Customer Experience; Is Unconscious Ruining It? Image by Sean_Hickin via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Sean_Hickin via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Stellar Customer Experience: How Is Implicit Bias Affecting It?

A Troublesome Story of Unconscious Bias

A passenger fell ill on a Delta Airlines flight. The announcement asked any doctor on board to ring their flight attendant call button. As Dr. Tamika Cross (a woman doctor of color) offered her services, the flight attendant rebuffed her. She said to dr. Cross, “Oh no, sweetie. Put your hand down. We are looking for actual physicians or nurses. We don’t have time to talk to you.” According to the report, a while male doctor then offered his services and was allowed to attend to the ill passenger. Delta airlines apologized and supposedly changed its procedures as a result. In any case this was not stellar customer experience. It delayed treatment to the ill patient and disrespected Dr. Cross.

What unconscious hidden bias is stopping you and your employees from delivering stellar customer experience?

  • Gender bias. Are you assessing value based on gender? Are your treating genders differently? Do you accept more aggressive behavior from male customers but rebuff female customers for similar behavior?
  • Weight related bias. There is more hidden bias among your employees about people’s weight than you might think. It’s disrespectful and devalues your service. It ruins stellar customer experience.
  • Racial bias. This implicit bias is alive and well yet it kills customer experience.
  • Cultural bias. Do you or your employees react badly to people with strong accents, or speaking a different language, or dressed very differently from others?
  • Age related bias. People are living longer than ever but they don’t necessarily want to be treated as invalids. Likewise, millennials don’t appreciate the bias they experience.
  • Disability related bias. Thinking badly of people with developmental disabilities or any disability discredits you and disrespects them.


Both in customer experience design and in deliver of customer service, hidden unconscious bias is deadly. People tell the world when they feel disrespected. The story about Dr. Tamika Cross experience went viral on Facebook!

Unearth the hidden implicit bias that lives within your organization. Eliminate it with training! Dr. Helen Turnbull’s Human Facets’® Unconscious Bias Program is one place to start.

Stellar customer experience doesn’t come from random events. Waiting for bias to ruin it and then apologizing to customers, will sink your success. Implicit bias training is the new frontier of designing and delivering stellar customer experience. Step forward and own that new frontier. If you are a leader, ask yourself how you are preserving bias or showing discomfort with diversity? To lead change you must start with your own beliefs and behavior.



What if anything stops your organization from exploring hidden bias. Why?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Positive Customer Service Results from Everyday People Skills
How Leaders Unknowingly Preserve Bias
Leadership Bias: Are You Showing Discomfort w/ Diversity

©2016 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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