Yoohoo…Over Here…I’m The Customer!

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I was frequenting one of my favorite warehouse stores recently as I do a few times a month. As I approached the cash register I could see that the cashier and the lady loading my basket were in deep conversation. I could tell they were talking about something scandalous that had gone on with a coworker.

Then, inexplicably one of them looks at me and says “he gets it” as if to pull me into the conversation. I nodded politely while having no clue what they were talking about. I’m sure they continued to talk after I left, awkwardly involving the other customers in line.

Have you ever experienced that as a customer where two employees are so wrapped up in a conversation that it’s as if you are not even there? It is even worse when they are gossiping about a coworker and really do not care who hears.

In the book “Be Our Guest: Perfecting the art of customer service,” we learn how critical the cast members are to the Disney customer service model. When the cast members are in the presence of guests their focus is to put on a show. Their focus is the customer.

This warehouse store should get to know this concept from Disney. Customer service professionals need to focus on the customer. Conversing with coworkers about life is all well and good but not in the presence of customers.

As customer service professionals who provide support over the phone, I am challenged to translate this into the way it affects us. At minimum, it is essential to maintain the focus on the customer, seeking to communicate with the customer on a level that will be most effective. Customers should never have to repeat themselves because the customer service representative wasn’t giving their complete, undivided attention. That’s after all why we are here.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.

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