The problem is that many people think they are doing a great job and helping out their companies by being abrasive. They try to enforce rules and take them to extremes to make sure their world stays within these boundaries. The part that really bothers me is the amount of effort they put in to alienate the customers.
Did you know that if you want to work in Disney World or Disneyland, you actually have to take classes on being friendly? It’s not just a 30 minute video on customer service either, you spend a couple of days where you have to learn all about the attitude they want displayed.
In casinos and restaurants, people who don’t give good customer service know it because it directly reflects the amount they are paid. Sure they will have nights where they are stiffed a couple of tips, but overall they get a daily progress report based on the amount they go home with. If it is consistently lower than the other workers then either you give bad customer service or they are lying about how much they are bringing in.
Once a worker in a tipped position realizes they are not providing the right attitude towards the guests, they learn to change it quick. Or they live with a more meager income, or they quit. A person in a tipped position must learn very quickly. Customer service is their livelihood.
But the rest of the world doesn’t rely on tips doesn’t have such a convenient meter to gauge their performance. There is a difference between tips and commissions, the first provides and incentive to perform great service for the customer and the second provides incentive to perform great service for the company.
Although performing great for the company can also create perverse incentives. So much more is emphasis is placed on closing the sale. While that is important for anybody, there needs to be a way to do it without seeing customers as wallets waiting to be emptied.
I’m not bashing salesmen here, they have to do hard work with uncertain results. I suppose I am bashing the reward structure that they have. More emphasis should be placed on retaining customers and making repeat sales. In order to do that, you need to actually learn about the customer and care.
You need to care about what they want and expect. And you need to care about what they are looking for and what kind of day they are having. While it is not the job of the employee to be the therapist for a customer, it is their job to have empathy and try to find the best solution.
While you might not become an empathetic and customer-centric person simply by taking a day long course at Disney World, having companies care enough to set that as a high priority says a lot about them.