Can you teach staff to care?

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Sure your staff all want the job, the income and training but do they really care about your business?

Your staff might even be passionate about delivering a great customer experience. But when something goes a little wrong do they really care enough to go the extra mile?

A couple of nights ago my Fiancée and I went out for my Birthday dinner and an upmarket Italian restaurant.
The food was top notch, the general service was fine, well balanced even a little too rehearsed at times.

However the experience went down hill when I went to the toilet just before desert. The Men’s was busy so I used the disabled toilet. On the way out I opened the door and BANG, I bashed my head on the top of the door frame! Now I am 6’2 but I have never had any trouble with doorways in the normal course of life.

If I’d had a couple more drinks I might have found myself wearing the floor as well. Never the less I stumbled out and checked the other toilet doorway. Sure enough the disabled toilet doorway was 4 inches lower, just above my eye line.

Grumbling and cursing I stopped the first waiter I found, and rubbing my head explained what happened;

“oh you bumped your head right…yeah that happens” *grin* the waiter says.

Then I went to the front desk and spoke to the lady on Front of House. Her response was… “Well our normal toilets are inside, we dont really use those ones…”

So both staff members knew that doorway was a problem, others had obviously had a similar experience and yet they had done nothing about it.

On top of that neither employees showed any sympathy, or even asked if I was ok (I still have a good bruise 2 days later)

The next day I rang the restaurant and spoke to the owner who gasped, was obviously shocked and disappointed but admitted that the door did need a sign and that she would put one up that day.

She went on to explain that her front of house staff had been working there some 2 years and that incidents like this would help her teach her staff the importance of customer care.

My answer to her was, “If as human beings your staff cant show one ounce of compassion in that situation they shouldn’t be working for you at all”. You cant force people to care, they either do or they don’t.

Hire people for their attitude and whether they will contribute to your culture and customer service because you can teach people the business processes, but you can’t teach them compassion.

Justin Flitter
Justin shares stories, information and advice on Customer Service and Social Media for Business. Justin is based in Auckland, New Zealand and has almost 1 years experience in the Customer Service industry. Justin is the Social Media Manager for Zendesk.com

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