CX Journey™ Musings: In the Name of Humanity…

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As a customer experience professional, you focus a lot on the customer. You put the customer on a pedestal. You put the customer front and center. And rightly so; without customers, you have no business. But you have to remember this: in order to deliberately design a customer-centric culture, you must put employees more first. Only when employees have a great experience can customers have a great experience, too. Employees need to know how they contribute to the bigger picture and how their work matters; they must have the tools and resources to do their jobs well; and they need the support of a caring leadership team.

With all of that in mind, I share this video, which I came across the other day. It was quite disturbing to watch. Warning: the first several seconds have some extremely “colorful” language.

The video was part of a social media campaign by GS Caltex, an energy firm, and has been shared and reshared by many call centers around the world. It’s a really sad statement about humans when it has to come to this, but it has/did.



The customer isn’t always right, but she is the customer. Treat her with dignity and respect.

The same goes for employees: treat them with dignity and respect. And while your customers might be up on a pedestal, it doesn’t give them the right to treat your employees like crap.

As you can see from this video, apparently we have to remind customers – not just employees – that we are all humans. And that there’s a human on the other end of the line. Or standing in front of them. (Yes, this video scenario happens face-to-face almost as often.) And that this human is someone’s mother, father, brother, sister. And that this human is doing her job to the best of her ability (oftentimes because she’s told to follow a script).

Crazy enough, when I speak on customer experience I often cite the following, which I wrote about last year in a post called “Imagine That You’re a Human…:”

What’s crazy to me is that we are all humans! (At least, most days I think we are!) And we are all customers! So what happens when we walk into the doors of our employers’ offices? What happens when we cross that threshold from not yet clocked in to on the clock? Do we forget that we’re all humans? Do we forget that we’re customers, too? Do we get dragged down by the corporate culture we work in day in and day out? Does that culture suck the empathetic life out of us? How can we treat each other so poorly?! There’s really no excuse that ever makes it OK to not deliver a great customer experience to the customer in front of you.

Well, I can’t say that the video’s content is a reason or excuse. But what I can say is that it looks like it’s time to flip the tables and teach customers a little bit about humanity and treating others humanely! There’s no excuse ever to treat anyone like that. The approach that GS Caltext took is a clever and effective one. Sad that it’s come to this.

How do you teach your employees to handle customers who talk and berate like this? If you work on the frontlines, what have you been taught to do? Or how do you handle these types of behaviors from customers?

If your actions were to boomerang back on you instantly, would you still act the same? Doing to others an act you’d rather not have done to you reveals a powerful internal conflict. -Alexandra Katehakis



Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She just published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business). Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game and put the customer at the heart of your business.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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