Photo used under Creative Commons from Leo Reynolds
A few months back I somehow managed to get a screw in one of the tires on my car. I was able to get some air in it and drive it to a local tire shop to have it repaired/replaced. I pulled the car around to the bay door and walked inside to the counter. There stood a young employee, doing something with her phone. She was probably updating her to-do list or checking the calendar, because she was busy. There were no other team members around. I walked up towards the counter, we made eye contact and she continued to “manage her busy schedule”. I stood there, waiting to be acknowledged, but still, there was nothing.
Now I know I could have spoken up, but is it not the cashier’s responsibility to serve the customer? I thought I’d see how long we could go on before something was said. She never said a word, and eventually another team member emerged from the garage bay…
“Have you been helped sir?”
Of course I said no, then he proceeded to do the work his fellow team member had failed to do.
So why does this happen?
The “not my job” attitude
This has got to be the most common reason why a team member will ignore customers. They just simply weren’t trained properly. When new team members are hired on, they may develop tunnel vision if it isn’t made clear to them what their responsibility is. And this is something that should be ingrained into the culture.
Tension amongst team members
It’s possible that there is some unresolved conflict between team members. Unfortunately, when this happens the anger is sometimes transferred to the customer. If someone on the team doesn’t feel like they’re supported, then they are going to have a hard time serving the customer.
A weak leader
Often times this happens because of inattention on the leader’s part. Or in his/her absence. Unfortunately, this is all too common. These teams will ultimately fail, either by loss of profit, or by loss of commitment. A strong team member can revive the team and even the organization by stepping up to the plate and taking action to improve customer relationships. (Tweet-able!)
The other side of the spectrum….
On the other side of the spectrum, there is a service shop in town that I frequent. It’s not a dealership, but like a dealership, when I pull into the parking lot, an attendant is sometimes at my car window before I can open the door. If not, then I’m face to face with him when I get out of the car. They are always friendly, courteous, and honest. In today’s “Connection Economy” (a term emphasized by Jared Latigo) this focus on attention is very important.
What has been your first impression of the customer service culture? Let’s disqus it!