A Rude Gesture - Pixabay (CC0)
A lot of businesses lose customers on a daily basis because of bad customers service delivery by their front line staff. I personally have shut down my accounts with a particular bank because of the appalling rudeness of the bank's cashiers. Such actions by a dissatisfied customer often has a ripple effect because they may share their experience with friends and families who as a result, may also withdraw their business from the offending organization. This short article is for business owners as well as their customer service representatives. It is meant to reawaken our consciousness to the phrases that may be killing our relationships with our customers in order to avoid or manage them, thereby reinvigorating and revitalizing our commitment to delivering excellent customer service. The objective is to ensure that we can identify scenarios that can be perceived as rude by the customers, avoid actions that will be perceived as rude and manage such scenarios better if they occur.
Some of us may wonder why this is necessary? Let me share a few reasons why;
The customer is "king" because he is the source of your income.
Your interaction with the customer might be the only basis for that customer's impression of the quality of service your organization offers.
Exceptional customer service is the only way to distinguish your business from the others who provide the same products or services.
Rudeness is any action or utterance perceived by the receiving party as impolite, crude or offensive. Rudeness could be in two forms i.e. spoken and unspoken forms. Spoken rudeness could be the use of negative words or a harsh tone while unspoken rudeness is communicated via body language through facial expression, posture, gestures or prolonged silence. 'Killer phrases' are common words or phrases that we use in our day to day activities consciously or unconsciously but which are perceived by the customer as rude, unprofessional, barbaric, uncivil, and unpopular. For example, telling and angry, irate customer to "calm down" will only escalate or increase his anger. These words/phrases differ from business to business and should be noted and treated as taboos.
Business Effect of Rude Behavior
- It is the enemy of great customer service. It hurts both external and internal customers.
- It is always measured in the eyes of the offended party and could make a mountain out of a molehill situation.
- Millions worth of businesses are diverted to business competitors by virtue of rude behavior.
- Lost business means lost profits and lost profits would eventually lead to loss of jobs.
- It gives the organization a bad corporate image.
How to Manage or Handle Rudeness
- Customer service representatives and front line staff must avoid actions and words that will be perceived as rude.
- Don’t be defensive in an altercation with a customer; you may not be able to correct the impression; simply learn from it and move on.
- Apologize sincerely where you’re perceived to be rude.
- Never take customers' emotion personal.
- Take responsibility for your actions as opposed to blaming the customer for inciting your rudeness.
As business owners and or customer service personnel, it is a collective responsibility and therefore every member of the team must be an active participant in the crusade of "War Against Rudeness" (WAR). Line managers and team leaders are responsible for “WAR” in their various teams; hence should take responsibility for their team members’ actions.
Cheers and thanks for reading!