“I literally hate customers more than anything in the entire world. I hate them so much. They’re terrible. It’s all about them all the time and they demand everything.” These are the words that got a Boston Market employee fired on a recent episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS. In the episode, the company’s Chief Branding Officer spent time in disguise working shifts in several of the fast food restaurant’s locations. Her goal was to see how new customer service initiatives and branding messages were being carried out by managers and employees at each branch. Most of the workers she encountered were helpful and hardworking. This one particular employee, however, told her with contempt how he ignores the company’s mandates for better customer service. In his view, it just created more work for him and he didn’t see any benefit to providing better customer service.
Understandably, the executive was shocked by this employee’s attitude. Boston Market has a corporate value they call “Love to Serve,” which means that they want employees who enjoy making people happy. This clearly wasn’t the attitude conveyed by this employee. As the executive in charge of branding and marketing, she quickly understood how this employee’s attitude would translate into unhappy customers and lower sales at the branch. She instructed the branch manager to fire the employee before he had a chance to further impact their business. Also, she advised the ex-employee to consider a line of work where he would not have contact with customers.
Like Boston Market, it is important for companies to have a corporate value statement that reflects a customer service attitude. It is not enough for it to be a motto. It must be repeated and reinforced throughout the training process. It must be modeled by managers at every level. Also, managers must be empowered to retrain or fire employees who do not exemplify this value. Workers at every level must be aware of the big picture. They must understand how good customer service benefits the company as a whole, and them as individuals. It is important to keep this value in mind during the hiring process. It is almost impossible to teach an attitude, so if you seek individuals who already possess this outlook, they will be a much better fit for any customer service centric company.
Do you know what kind of attitude is displayed by your customer service employees? It is not feasible for every company to conduct an undercover sting operation. How, then, can you be sure that your employees have the same respect for customer service as company executives? Simple: Ask your customers!
Instead of going undercover, ask your customers to rate your customer service with a customer service survey. Based on the results, we will help you determine the proper course of action to increase your baseline scores. Then, we recommend that you resurvey periodically to gauge the effectiveness of your improvement initiatives. Are you meeting your customers’ expectations? Contact us today to find out.