Do personal issues sabotage customer service?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

Chances are, you’ve endured an unsavory experience as a consumer. You’ve been treated poorly during the course of a business transaction and likely more than once.

Now consider: Did these experiences interrupt the pleasant flow of your day? Did you receive the value you were looking for? How did they make you feel? Were you inclined to never do business with that company or those people again? Did you tell others about your experiences?

There’s a tremendous crossover between the personal and professional lives of people. Frequently, a great deal of time and energy is spent on the job rehashing, both mentally and verbally, the unresolved and troubling personal challenges team members face. More often than you might realize, this situation leads to bad attitudes, a negative business environment, reduced productivity, unfavorable interactions with customers and lost revenue. What business can afford to lose customers and revenue to behaviors that have no place in a top-notch company?

When company representatives transfer personal issues onto a customer, it creates dissatisfaction, doubt and distrust in the heart and mind of the customer. For any business owner who desires to be successful, this is the exact opposite customer service experience you want your clientele to have while engaging your business.

Awareness of this issue is vitally important. Whether it’s the owner, manager or any other team member, people have a tendency to get wrapped up in personal issues —   issues that have nothing to do with fellow team members and customers. When this happens, they become self-consumed and blind to the reality of doing business, which has everything to do with taking care of others. No one wins when people bring personal baggage to work.

The secret to creating a win-win situation here is the ability to shift gears. Rather than spend your day consumed by things that happen outside of work, choose to use your time at your place of business as a much-needed break from what’s bothering you. Given the limitations to effectively address your situation while on the clock, choose to bring your best to work and then deal with personal matters during lunch or at the end of the day.

The issues people carry with them are the result of things that happened in the past, while each new customer service experience is a present moment reality. It’s imperative that ALL team members be coached on developing skills that allow them to shift out of “what was then” to effectively deal with “what is now.” That way, customers receive quality service without the negativity associated with previous and unrelated events that have nothing to do with them.

Being self-aware and able to consciously direct one’s self in the most constructive manner possible during each customer interaction is a teachable skill. When team members are taught to be present, not take things personally, remain composed, care deeply and treat others as they would want to be treated, their ability to provide exceptional customer service increases exponentially. This enhanced business model sets the stage for the growth and prosperity you want as a business owner.

Just one negative customer interaction at the hands of a team member bringing his or her personal issues to bear has a ripple effect that could cost you more than you’re willing to lose. Choosing to invest in your team’s professional development and the ability to provide an exceptional customer service experience on a consistent basis produces a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Investing in high-quality, ongoing customer service training will position your team to be at its best in meeting and even exceeding the wants and needs of your very important customers. Just as there’s a great deal of coaching and training that goes into becoming a top-notch athlete, the same is true for becoming a top-notch team and company.

When team members become aware of their mindset, behaviors and outcomes they create and understand how to do things differently to produce better results, customer service rapidly improves. As the service your customers receive rises to new levels in quality, greater customer satisfaction, increased referrals, improved business results and higher revenues follow.