One-third of consumers recently polled said they experience rudeness at the hands of an employee once every month on average. In a report released in the September 2011 edition of the Journal of Service Research, consumers tended not to talk about it — they just took their business elsewhere.
Managers may not know how frequently customers notice rudeness, because customers rarely report it. However, it’s common for a consumer to tell his friends and family, and anyone else who will listen. Witnessing rudeness makes people angry, and they won’t hesitate to tell others.
As a precaution against the rampant nature of employees behaving badly towards customers, companies can take several action steps:
– Get a pulse on your workplace culture. This will help employees and customers alike.
– Create opportunities for customers to communicate with the business or its managers in a safe and non-threatening way. Workplace culture, bad or good, may be much more visible to an outsider. The first impression of your organization will impact whether the customer wants to visit again or not.
While organizations focus on training employees on customer service – certainly a valuable asset – employees should also be trained how to model good behavior. A strong manager can model good behavior on a daily basis with their colleagues, and establish a long-lasting behavior that will directly impact how employees present themselves to customers.
Addressing poor behavior immediately is critical to setting standards that will be followed on a regular basis. Visibly displaying a positive work culture to customers is also beneficial for creating a positive company brand. A good example of this are retail stores that huddle with their teams on the floor and conduct activities that foster excitement and team spirit among staff.
When your company takes a stand against rudeness, they can avoid the negative business results that will take months, if not years, to repair. Customers who were treated rudely, the September study showed, were less likely to purchase anything else from the company, and expressed little interest in the firm’s new services.
The best response? A simple apology. However, a good training program and best practices on courtesy can foster civility from the beginning.