Many years ago, I went through a stage where I would get really annoyed about how bad the service was when I went into certain places. I couldn’t understand why this was taking place and why something hadn’t been done about it.
I thought that this showed that something wasn’t right up top, with what was going on there flowing down to the people who were on the front line, so to speak. Two of the main things that annoyed me were a lack of eye contact and presence; it was as though most of these people had left their body and were somewhere else.
I Gradually Settled Down
As time went by I started to see that I was wasting my energy and experiencing unnecessary stress by getting worked up about this. Still, there were moments when I would get annoyed about what I experienced.
I found that by using the self-service checkouts, it stopped me from having to go through all this. So, although this meant that I wouldn’t experience human contact, it stopped me from having to experience bad service.
A New Outlook
A few days ago, I ended up thinking about this area again; but this time, it was due to how other customers were behaving. There was a fairly big queue and this meant that we all had to be patient.
The person behind found this hard to handle and they kept complaining to a member of staff who was close by. What this meant was that hearing him complain was far more draining than having to wait until I was served.
A Similar Scenario
Shortly after this I went somewhere else, somewhere were there was also a big queue. And, just like before, there was somewhere there who was talking quite loudly about how bad it was.
Being around this kind of behaviour reminded me of what it was like when I worked behind a till, as well as what it can be like when I volunteer. I thought that the people who work behind a till are often seen as objects that are there to meet other people’s needs.
A Lack of Empathy
When someone has this outlook, there is going to be no reason for them to treat these people as human beings. This means that they will be stripped of their humanity; no longer seen as people who have feelings and needs.
If they were to seen them as human beings and not objects, it would be a lot harder for them to treat them in this manner. And, through being treated better by people, it would be a lot easier for these people to provide good customer service.
The energy would be given from the customer to the person who is serving them and it would end up being given back to the customer, or vice versa. When a customer only takes and dumps all their negativity onto the person who is there to serve then, it is naturally going to take a lot out of them.
When this takes place a number of times a day, week after week, month after month, it is going to have a big effect on their wellbeing. Add all this to the other challenges that this person is likely to have and it is not going to be surprising for them to give bad customer service.
If someone has a high paid job and they rarely deal with customers, it is going to be easier for them to provide good service. Yet if they are not being paid much and they have to deal with hundreds of people a day, it is going to be a lot harder for them to do so.
Taking this into account, the kind of service that is given in the UK can be seen as not only a reflection of what is going on for businesses, but also what the culture is like there. Like most places in the west, there is a big focus on technology but the same can’t be said for empathy.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.