Commentary: Do you ever feel as if Harry Potter has draped his invisibility cloak over your shoulders when you walk into a business? Does shopping make you feel like Jagger – can’t get no satisfaction? Ever been in conversation with a sales associate, manager, or even a doctor, only to have another employee barge in and start another conversation as if you weren’t even there? Well, it has happened to me one time too many.
Most recently, while consulting with a salesperson at Costco, I got a bit fed up after an associate interrupted a second time. Ahem. Ex-CYOOOOOZ me? Calling attention to what was happening, I raised my voice and asked, “Ma’am, why do you keep interrupting while I’m talking?” This alerted the original salesperson to acknowledge me and freeze out her co-worker. But the interrupter hovered, like a Golden Snitch, ready to jump in, again!
Now I was beginning to feel like chopped meat.
“Do you recognize that you’re disrupting what was previously good customer service?” I asked the interrupter. She looked at me grinned and said, “It’s just ordinary business, sir!” Is it?
Millennials have been called the “me-me-me generation,” but I’m finding that attitude of entitlement isn’t limited to just those in the 22-to-37 age bracket. Grown-ups supposedly trained in providing quality customer service are also known to interrupt ongoing transactions.
So is this a retail trend?
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, what I experienced was, indeed, customer service — but not customer satisfaction. One of the most significant factors to customer satisfaction, the ACSI says, is employee satisfaction. Unhappy employees contribute to low customer satisfaction.
Happy employees equals better customer experience equals higher revenues equals higher stock prices equals over-the-top happy customers! So, smart companies let employees know that they are appreciated and that they make a difference in business outcomes.
Every time I walk into the UPS store, the associate is so happy and welcoming, I immediately start grinning with joy. She’s so bubbly! On a scale of 1-10, she’s about a 20! Her bosses have clearly created a culture that makes employees feel valued.
By implication, then, the ladies at the eye center probably feel like … well, like chopped meat!
I speak as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist faith, one that is very inclusive and strives to see the good in people. I believe people do the best they can. We all work with the consciousness we have. Most people intend to treat others well.
We can’t all possibly be the little Miss Sunshine from UPS. But, if we strive to do our best by one another and aim for positive impact, there is bound to be more customer satisfaction in the world.
I will do my best just to smile at the next clerk who interrupts me; to any hint of rudeness I’ll aim to turn a … blind eye.