In the many customer service workshops I facilitate, I’ve discovered that the human tendency to judge others based on personal moral standards or guidelines is by far the biggest hurdle in a person’s ability to provide great service.
Customer profiling is not limited to policing and security. A customer that doesn’t look quite right, whose clothes and mannerisms don’t match a preconceived notion of what a customer should look like, very often receive lower grade service. They may not be treated with outright rudeness (although that does happen) but the smile, the offers to help and quality checks are not done as quickly or with as much enthusiasm.
Moral judgments and biases really come into play when a customer is unhappy about a policy or a procedure. The tendency to blame customers for their dissatisfaction or unhappiness is common.
- “Why should I care if a customer is unhappy because he has to go outside to smoke? Smoking is a disgusting habit. He should just quit and then his problem is solved.”
- “If she’d read the information, she’d have seen there was a fee for that.”
- “He’s just like all the others; a scammer out to get something for free.”
- “Wow, I can’t believe how rude she was. What a b*#@h!”
- “She was late. If she’d been here on time, she wouldn’t have had to wait as long.”
- “Everyone knows hotel check-in times are not that early. Why is she so mad because she can’t get into her room early?”
Customers have foibles, bad habits, idiosyncrasies. They are just like us, imperfect. Excellent service providers have learned to get off their high horse, their pedestal of moral judgment and insider information. Instead, they join the customer at ground level to look at the situation from his or her point of view; they try to find common ground. Excellent service providers may not always agree, but they are never disagreeable.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to share.