Do you ever school your employees in the fine art of public relations? Maybe it´s just the PR staff that takes care of media relations. If that is the case, then it´s time to consider training everyone in the fine art of communications. Just because someone acts as your financial manager doesn´t mean that that individual doesn´t impact the way your various "publics" see your company. Every time your employees leave the office they´re representing the company is subtle and obvious ways, depending on where they go, who they talk to, and what they say. Employees don´t always realize that when they´re being trained in customer service or how to communicate with each other on the job they´re also being taught how to put on a good face so to speak. I´ll tell you about two recent experiences and then, hopefully, you´ll see what I´m talking about and why it should be a part of your employee development program.
Have you ever been in a customer service situation-you´re the customer here-and the salesperson is speaking with a colleague, maybe another sales clerk on the floor or someone sitting at a bank of phones answering calls from customers and employees? I was at a major department store recently purchasing a mattress and box spring for my son. The salesperson was a dream and I´m going to make sure the store manager finds out. But back to my tale of customer service woe: She rang up the sale and arranged for delivery. My son was resting on the floor model of the bed that we were buying. He was happy. I was happy. And I presume that Liz, the salesperson, was happy, too. So about a week later I get a call on my cell phone confirming delivery. And then a day before the scheduled delivery the department store calls again to inform me that "they can´t find the merchandise." Nothing like being told that a store can´t find your thousand-dollar order.
Lucky for them, I live near the store where the order originated. I´ve never done this, but I practically fell out of the elevator with total disgust. Yep, I was pretty angry. I found my salesperson fairly quickly and announced for her and anyone else in the vicinity to hear that I was not very happy. Now, I will tell you: I am one of the most polite and gracious unhappy customers you´ve ever seen, but I didn´t need my son sleeping indefinitely on blow-up mattress (I´d already given away his bed so that IT WOULD BE EASY FOR THE DELIVERY PEOPLE TO INSTALL THE NEW BED"?¦). Now, here´s what upset me the most: as I listened to Liz explain the situation over the phone to one of her COLLEAGUES at one point she paused and said into the receiver, "No, I´m not threatening you." I was stunned that her colleague, someone from the same department store, would speak to her like that. Yeah, I might be a little naÃ¯ve, but I happen to believe in a certain amount of basic civility that we owe one another, especially when we are supposedly on the same team, folks.
If you suspect for a second that someone on your team is capable of similar behavior, nip it in the bud!! There´s bad customer service and then there´s bad customer service accompanied by internal, on display for the world to see dysfunction. That´s not a good thing and you should do everything you can to spare your customers from being privy to the kind of interaction that´s characteristic of a company that just hasn´t grown up yet.
Tell me about your company dysfunction. Is it something that could be taken care of with some carefully orchestrated employee development training?