Today is a bit of a rant day as I need to get something off my chest that has been bothering me for awhile now. Perhaps you have experienced this too – poor customer service.
I thought that we were making great strides in lessening the divide between men and women but I today I am unsure. When I hear stories of the barriers that women are breaking, it is so inspiring and motivating for other women to push through them. In the world of diversity, we are taught to accept people of all races, genders, religions, and the like, and I do believe that progress is being made. But I am questioning this thought.
Being an avid dancer, I have been going to a particular venue for years; I’ve always enjoyed the people and the friendships I’ve made, including the owners of this venue. Recently, they have hired several new staff members, both male and female, but one new male employee needs to go back to customer service school and fast!. He does not smile, makes curt comments, and has a bad attitude all-around. I have heard more than one comment from others customers, both male and female, who agree. So, last night, I spoke to one of the owners to discuss the poor customer service of this staff member and boy, am I disappointed today and wonder how indicative this is across industries.
I am not one who complains to management; it is rare that I send a meal back or make a complaint about a rude employee. But I do expect, as a consumer, to be treated welcomingly and respectfully. Lately, it seems that I am saying thank you to more than I am hearing that in return. The art of customer service – and what that truly means – seems lost today. It may be societal or it may be unhappy workers in the wrong job, or both. But I think something needs to be done.
So in going back to my story, the owner, instead of apologizing or at least telling me he would talk to his employee, just laughed, told me that he had no problems, and said, “Maybe he’s a man’s man” and pumped his chest while making this statement. Hearing no empathy or responsibility from this manager was, to say the least, disappointing and the gender implication was telling. I might expect this from a front-line worker, but not from someone who is ultimately responsible for hiring decisions and who sets the tone for these workers. I now know why this employee acts as he does: because he can. Managers who do not address poor employee behavior, whether valid or not, are setting a poor tone for the workplace and risk the loss of their brand and their customer base.
Although this poor response won’t make me stop visiting this venue my feeling have changed; I am not so willing to promote the venue as I have in the past. It also, though, has made me more aware and I am now more dedicated to providing stellar customer services for my clients and making it an expectation to not accept less for myself in the future. I might just send that steak back the next time !
I hear it over and over again how workers today are having difficulty dealing with their boss. Some of the comments include, “She’s creates drama”, “He shows favoritism”, “He yells and orders us around”, “She expects so much out of us”, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” And the list goes on. These types of behaviors can create an environment of fear and insecurity among the workers, who eventually will become de-motivated and disengaged. Productivity goes down while absenteeism can go up.
But I bet if you were to ask these supervisors they would deny any maladaptive behaviors on their part. Here are seven characteristics of an abusive boss, or what is refered to in management theory as a Theory X manager. See if any of these apply to you – or to your work place:
- Micromanager – obsessed with details and perfection
- Lack of direction with decisive delivery – treats everything as a priority that requires immediate attention
- Mood swings – responses are unpredictable
- Obsession with loyalty and obedience – “You are either for me or against me”
- Status derogation – criticizes or ridicules their subordinates in public
- Arbitrary and hypocritical
- Exercises their power for their own personal gain
These traits often go along with power and position and are not necessarily applicable only to management. Recognizing them can help you deal with them but you need to be aware of them in order to effectively handle them. Self-management skills, like empathy and emotional intelligence, will help you be less stressed, more productive and happier. It will make going to work less of a chore. So what characteristics do you think of and how do you deal with them? Would love your thoughts!