Businesses often mount customer service programs to give them the edge over their competition. Yet the success rate of these programs isn't high. I believe that one of the reasons for this is because of what I call Tea Room Talk.
This happens when people leave their front line role and go for a well earned tea break where they are joined by other members of the team. The conversation then goes something like this.
Dean: 'You wouldn't believe the customer I just had. She was terrible.' And then he goes on to recount his tail of woe.
Sharon: 'That's nothing. Remember the one I had yesterday. He was so rude and he wouldn't listen and...'
Cathryn: 'You think that's bad!' Then she goes on to recite an even more horrific story from the day/week/month before.
What you end up with is each staff member trying to top the other for the worst customer scenario.
We all need to get it out of our system when we have an unpleasant experience with a customer.
But if we get into the role of trying to top one another's customer horror stories then gradually the customer becomes the enemy. This is a whole different view about customers compared to the one that we talk about in customer service programs and campaigns. So all the good that we have been doing by saying the customer is always right and the customer comes first is eaten away gradually but very powerfully by the Tea Room Talk.
I'd like to recommend another way of handling this which still allows people to get it out of their system but achieves a positive result.
When you or any member of your team have a bad experience with a customer by all means go out the back at the tea break and get it out of your system.
But when you've finished, even if you are out there by yourself, end up by saying 'and you know what, I handled it really well because....' and go on to congratulate yourself for something that you have done well in the process.
Even if the customer stormed out having been rude and angry you ca.....
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