Engagement, Communication and the fragile nature of Customer Service

glass-half-fullAs someone who spends a lot of time talking to people about the positive side of people and engagement, it’s always a crash back to reality when all the good stuff goes out of the window. Engagement scores are one thing, they are an aggregate of where an employee stands. What the customer experiences can be something completely different. It’s down to your people’s mood at given point in time. And if you let them down once, the customers may not be might not be back!

Something was wrong at a pub we go to for lunch every couple of months. The staff are normally friendly and cheerful as well as efficient . They are well drilled and know their process inside out. They are engaged. Service is consistently good and comes with a smile. But not the last time we went last Saturday. I asked for a pint of my favourite but was told it wasn’t available. We’ve been going there for years, and that beer has always been served. I had a little grumble and got a stony response from the waitress…she was really cheesed off and remained so for the rest of the time she served us. Not good I thought, we won’t be coming back here for a while. I asked the manager about the beer and she wasn’t happy either, nor did she give me a reason why the beer wasn’t available. All I wanted was a reason and a smile!

Later we found out what had happened. The area manager ┬áhad decided to change the beer without asking his manager’s opinion or even having the courtesy to let her know. She’d had it “in the neck” from other customers too, not just me.

We won’t be going back for at least 6 months.

So what has this lunch reminded me?

A fish rots from the head. A manager’s bad mood spreads like wildfire through their staff and onto the customers. Oh dear! You need managers that are resilient and emotionally intelligent.

People don’t like change whether they are customers or staff.

Consulting people about change is obvious but common sense isn’t common practice.

Even engaged staff can be have off days.

Customer service is a very fragile and even loyal customers can be put off.

For some people the glass is half empty!