Workplace Stress: Customer Service on the First Date

A client or customer calls or visits your business for the first time. What happens during that encounter may determine whether or not there will be more "dates" to follow.

Think back to a time when you had a first date. You wanted to be at your best so you spent time on your appearance - clean clothes, trimmed nails, even a new hairstyle. You also made sure that your home and/or vehicle presented the right image. You remembered what your mom told you, so you minded your manners, too. But, all that might fall flat if your "date" turned out to be the exact opposite.

Pffft! That was the sound of the air escaping from the anticipation and excitement of possibility - the relationship that never had the chance to leave the ground. The customer or client turned away - feeling dismissed, ignored, pounced upon, unheard, or even verbally groped. A bad impression on that all-so-important first date can often mean opportunities and business walk out of the door, never to return.

The business first date is not complicated chemistry, so why does it go wrong?

Lack of awareness. Loss of focus. Presenteeism. Lack of engagement. Lack of knowledge, equipment, training or time. Feeling unappreciated. Is the workplace afflicted with the contagion of stress? All of these can be supported with a good foundation of emotional management techniques that provide the ability to treat stress right in the moment, rather than letting it build and explode in a mess of miscommunication and disservice.

All dressed up, but still not ready to date.

So your business and your employees are well-dressed, but the magic is still missing. Consider some of these examples that makes the likelihood of a future date dim:

  • Mumbles when on the phone.
  • Leaves a call-back number and the message at rapid-fire pace.
  • Informs you that they will wait until you get there, then when you arrive, they've gone without leaving information with the assistant.
  • The wait staff who coughs all over food.
  • "No, we don't have/do that here." (No suggestion of an alternative.)
  • The let-me-finish-my-personal-conversation before I acknowledge your presence.
  • "A customer???"

Some of these may seem minor, but like stress, they accumulate and make an impression. Is it the type of impression you wish to make, though? You never know who is going to show up - a hard-of-hearing person. Someone who is disabled. The competition. Someone who has turned to you for an answer or a solution. Have you missed the opportunity to massage away the customer's frustration by offering help/resources or products?

Relationship Rescue

Could your half-asleep, unaware employees be ruining the chance for a future dates? Is their stress extinguishing the relationship before it even had a chance to spark?

Consider investing in a short, targeted coaching program to help your employees change their chemistry - the secret to treating the cause of stress - and ignite the relationship.

2 Replies to “Workplace Stress: Customer Service on the First Date”

  1. For humor this Monday, your description makes me think of the two assistants on the DOC MARTIN show. We always wonder why he keeps them, the village wants him to–but they are horrible, chewing gum, lounging in a chair, talking on the phone. You want to banish them to some room so they learn to grow up!

    1. Hi Beth,

      I know exactly which characters you’re referring to in Doc Martin. They are humorous examples of what not to do when serving the public.

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