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N E X T

You Don't Say

October 15, 2008  

You're in line at a store when the cashier answers the phone, speaks in a snarky tone, rolls his eyes, hangs up and then comments on the caller's stupidity while ringing up your purchase.

Anyone would consider this an egregious example of poor customer service—black marks all around. But the Service Untitled blog argues that this behavior is just as bad if it happens without a single customer in sight. "I've always told companies to do their best to prevent employees from saying negative things about customers," it notes. "It doesn't give off the right vibe to other employees and it degrades a group of people that should be treated with the utmost respect." In other words: your customers.

Allowing a culture of disrespect to flourish, even in private, will inevitably seep into the way your front-line employees interact with your customers. And if it becomes pervasive, a customer won't need to hear an actual comment to know how little your company thinks of her. She'll sense it.

The next time someone asks a stupid question or places an unreasonable demand on your customer-service department, think twice before mocking them as soon as they're out of earshot.


The Po!nt: "The rule of thumb is simple," says Service Untitled. "[I]f you wouldn't say it to the customer's face while standing next to your boss, then don't say it."

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