There are many reasons customers experience poor service in a retail, sales and service business including; a lack of resources, outdated policies and procedures and poor choices of behaviour made by staff to name a few. There are however, several widespread causes of the provision of poor service.
The first is a lack of training of staff in the fundamentals of customer service. Staff must be skilled in areas such as how to be polite, professional and effective communication. If they don’t have an awareness and understanding of these and other essential elements, inadequate service can be the result, simply because they don’t have the skills.
In some instances staff may be well trained however, if management are not clear on the standard of service the business expects to be provided to its customers, staff don’t know exactly what is required of them. They haphazardly provide customers with the level of service they feel comfortable with, which may or may not be at an appropriate level.
In other cases, there may be little or no accountability to these standards and are therefore disregarded by staff. Accountability includes being corrected or coached when the standards of service are not met or, when customers are not served to the level expected by the business. Accountability also includes positive feedback, recognition and/or reward when staff do a great job of serving customers well.
This leads to a major factor influencing the level of service provided to customers and that is, how the staff are treated by their managers and the business in general. If morale is low, as a result of management continuously disrespecting staff, they will have minimal enthusiasm to want to do the right thing by the business or its customers. Ultimately if staff are treated well, they are more likely to treat customers well.
As a customer, we often look at the person serving us poorly and place the blame wholly and solely on them however, consider what is behind the poor service. Do they even know what good service looks like? Have they been trained to provide quality service? Do they have clear service standards to follow and are they held accountable to standards such as being applauded when they do a great job? Lastly, are they treated respectfully by management, in a manner in which the business would like to see customers treated? If the answer is no to any of these questions, staff are not completely empowered to provide customers with a good service experience. When staff have the right tools and right the support, they are better equipped to make good customer service choices.