It's 6:30 on a Friday night in a busy restaurant. I don't know what happened before I arrived but while I was waiting in line the manager who was clearly unhappy with the performance of one of his employees made that point well known to everyone within earshot. Not only was it embarrassing for the waitress but it was uncomfortable for all the customers waiting in line. Was the waitress able to "put on a happy face" and act as though nothing had happened? Some waitresses may have been able to do that but this one did not.
Did the customers that she served for the rest of the night think that she was unhappy in her job? Did they wonder about how the restaurant was managed to make staff so unhappy? Did they think she was just having a bad day? Did she knowingly or unknowingly make the customers feel uncomfortable? Did the way she acted affect the customer experience? You bet!
As Peter Frost, an organization behaviour professor at the University of British Columbia and author of "Toxic Emotions at Work" tell us, "...when the situation is such that good people leave or staff are not doing good work because they are hurting, that is going to impact the customer experience and head right to the bottom line."
It's a ripple effect right that goes directly to the bottom line. The way staff members are treated is reflected in the way they interact with customers - and that applies to both external and internal customers. We focus on external customers because we know they pay the salaries of everyone in the organization through their purchases of our products and services. And today customers can take their business to another organization in as "quick as a click". But we also need to focus on internal customers: 1) enablers, those staff members in the same or another department, division or subsidiary who are integral in helping you serve your customer, and 2) service providers, those staff members who provide services to you such as an in-house technology group or marketing group so that you can do your job.
It's quite simple really. We all know this inherently but we don't all think about it in the heat of the moment when stress takes over. If you want your staff to treat your customers well then lead by example and treat your staff well. Your staff will do as you do...they will copy the language and behaviour that you use when dealing with your customers whether they are "external" or "internal" customers. Unhappy staff members create unhappy experiences for customers. And a large percentage of unhappy customers don't come back as you'll read this month in Ruth-Anne's article.
At The Customer Experience Company, we believe that customers don't remember what you do for them. They only remember how you made them feel the last time they dealt with your organization...and in particular when they dealt with you.
Are you doing all you can to create an exceptional customer experience? Everything you do has a ripple effect, which is why we use the ripple image in the masthead of our newsletter. Think about it. What ripple do you want to create in your organization today?
In this issue, we talk about how the colours you have chosen for your Web site affect your bottom line. Then, Ruth-Anne talks about the poison of bad experiences and our survey results from the last poll. Finally, it's my pleasure to introduce Riça Night who shares a customer experience story that you'll want to read.
Are you willing to share your thoughts? Click here to let us know what you think of this month's articles. We'd love to know...