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Why staff recognition is important to CX

11th Jan 2017
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During a post New Year drink with a friend of mine he related a story that I felt need to be shared. It is a good example, in my opinion, of how the fatal combination of arrogance and ignorance turns a positive customer experience into a negative one. It would have cost nothing and use very little time, read on.

My friend was in a famous book store late in 2016 looking for materials for his son who was about to go to go back to school. They couldn’t find what they were looking for so asked a young assistant for help. It was a weekend and the assistant looked like they had a typical “Saturday Job” attitude and didn’t look at first glance particularly helpful.

However, first impressions can be deceptive and the young assistant turned out to be extremely informative and attentive going the extra mile for my friend and his son. As a result he managed to sell them more than they originally intended as a result and leaving them both feeling very positive about the experience.

This is a nice story as it is, but unfortunately there is more, as the attempt to offer some recognition for the assistants enthusiasm was to be spoilt as the story progresses.

My friend was so impressed by what he had experienced he wanted to ensure the assistant was recognised for the effort made so he approached two managers who happened to be in the store at the time. Their first reaction when approached was to be defensive, obviously anticipating bad news they did, however, loosen up when it became clear they were getting a positive story.

Their response when my friend related his story and went on to suggest that the assistant needed some recognition was very disappointing and spoke volumes about how the store management felt about their staff. Their response was just to point him in the direction of the till to pick a form and fill it in, the managers then immediately turned away to continue with their discussion, they didn’t even ask for the employees name.

So what does this say about the management’s attitude towards their staff and what should have happened? 

Good, Better, Best, Options

  • The good option would have been to ask who the employee was and get someone to go and get the form.
  • The better option would have been to as the employees name, get the form personally and ask for some further details.
  • The best option would have been to get the name of the employee take my friend somewhere to fill in the form with him and have a chat about the experience. Then for the manager to personally thank the employee.

My friend wasn’t sure if the employee would get any recognition and guessed not, based on the managements response to the recommendation offered. However there is a more positive end as about 2 months later he got a letter to say the member of staff had been nominated for a quarterly customer service and was awarded vouchers. So it seems the company recognition process work and someone cared, somewhere.

The local management though had turned a very positive feeling about the store, the brand and the purchasing experience into something quite sour, it would have cost nothing to leave the customer with a very positive feeling which would have been passed on (NPS).

This, in my opinion, is a good example of inconsistency in the delivery of employee and customer care with very heavy reliance upon the good will of the employee to deliver exceptional service without the role modelling and support of their management. Whether this problem runs throughout the management chain or just at the level of management experienced we don’t know. The employee did get his recognition but the opportunity for immediate acknowledgement had gone.

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