Customer Experience: Are You Betting Against Civility?
by Kate Nasser |
Recently on Twitter, I tweeted the Amex findings that 33% of customers are likely to switch brands or companies because of a rude or inattentive customer service rep (Source: American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer).
I was quite surprised when someone tweeted back, “That means 67% wouldn’t leave.” He didn’t say what he meant by it but I doubt he was practicing arithmetic. Was he implying that incivility doesn’t matter if the majority of customers don’t leave because of it?
It’s a dangerous philosophy. For a solid reputation of super customer experience — civility, caring, and positive people-skills are foundational not optional. Whether it’s the first impression or the tenth interaction, uncaring reps will surely have a negative effect on the business.
Super Customer Experience: Are You Betting Against Civility?
- Selection and Hiring. If you posed that statistic when interviewing job applicants, what responses would you consider indicators of positive customer service attitude? If they replied like the man on Twitter, would you put those job applicants in the top group of potential hires? If yes, you may be betting against the importance of civility.
If instead it would be a warning flag to you, you are on the path to building a solid foundation and culture of super customer experience.
- Tolerance and Denial. If one of your customer service reps was rude to a customer and the customer wanted to speak with you in management, would you speak with them?
In some call centers, the reps are instructed to tell the customers a manager is not available. These call centers are betting against civility.
How does it make you feel as the leader when you hear that your team members were rude to customers? What would you say to these customers besides “we’re very sorry”? Would you be tempted to defend your your reps with excuses of how busy they are, how good they generally are, and so forth?
If you believe that civility is the very foundation of relationships with customers, there are no excuses or defenses. Verbalizing your company’s absolute 100% commitment to customer care will re-secure the trust of these customers. No other metric matters at that moment.
- Indifference and inaction. Do you, as leader, believe that you can influence the behavior of customer service reps? One day I told a business owner how badly one of his employees had treated me. His answer was: “Well that’s just the way she is.”
In that one short sentence, he neutered his position as leader. He either did not believe he could influence behavioral change or didn’t want to. His indifference led to his inaction and he bet against civility. He lost.
In the face of negative customer feedback, do you often think “You can’t make everyone happy” or “You can’t change people.” Thoughts guide actions and these thoughts might lead you to bet against civility.
There’s a smarter bet with much better odds. As a leader, not only can you influence behavior — you must if you want civility to be the culture throughout your organization.
Create a winning customer experience culture by betting on and building the foundation of civility. It welcomes, delivers, and sustains your business.
Hire reps who desire civility and believe in it. Train them to shine at it. Coach them to nourish and retain it — and the customers.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.