You see it everywhere. The customer is walking away, shaking their head in disbelief at the atrocious behavior exhibited by that first line employee.
How do you inject a charismatic relationship with customers if their experience is horrible?
At the core are those employees who have been trained to know better, but they continue to destroy the customer experience. And it is contagious. One bad apple can indeed destroy the whole bunch. Just as famous people want to hang with famous people, so the criminal does not want to hang with the local police. Negaholics unite with one another.
What to do to address the employee who just does not care about the customer experience?
1 – Turn-over Counts
Look at turnover rates of employees. By department, by store, by division . . . turnover points a finger at problems. For the most part, people leave employment because of a boss. Sometimes it takes the departure of a few key employees to finally get someone to do something about “old Bob the sourpuss”.
2 – The Fish Stinks from the Head Down
Bad behavior by the guy at the top gives permission to everyone who is subordinate to act in a similar way. “If he can do it, so can I.” Unless the person “at the top” is being proactive and championing the customer, then the very nature of all organizations is to be at best neutral, but more often condescending and mediocre. In todays competitive world you cannot not be mediocre and win. Won’t happen. Strong leadership expects followers to excel. Fix your problems at the top.
3 – “Picklesuckers Unite!”
On the frontier of the old west there were trading posts, each with its corner pickle barrel. Kids would sneak in, and not being able to afford the actual pickle, would pull one out and suck the juice and drop it back into the barrel.
Today these picklesuckers are uniting in your business. They gather at the “water cooler” and grouse about leadership, the organization and those pesky customers. Like a festering cancer, they work behind the scenes to cripple and destroy.
Not only do you need to deal with the morale issues in your management ranks, but you also have facilitate a CTJM with your picklesuckers. That is a “Come To Jesus Meeting,” or a honest, and frank conversation. “Listen you may be very technically competent, but you have got to up your customer skills or there won’t be a place for you here.” If these meeting are not happening, then you have a problem and it is being painted over. How do you know? These meetings will have documentation. The HR people will know about them. Just check.
4 – Reward with Cake not with Carrots
The carrot and the stick may be a good tool, but when the child sneaks a finger into the frosting, the sweet reward encourages a return trip. So you must reward great customer engagement. Someone has to recognize and reward the good. Then everyone sees the reward and the message oozes out to your winners, and your “I do not care” problem employees. “If you want to get recognition around here, you need to do X, and Y, and Z.” That is why you need to address the earlier issues. If the boss does not care, they also will not care about the troops in the trenches, those employees who ARE your face in the customer experience.
If you have employees who just do not care, you need to look in the mirror . . . before you have your own CTJM.