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Staff's 'false smiles' leading to poor customer service

12th May 2010
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Businesses should invest more time convincing their staff about their marketing messages as well as trying to convince their customers.

Having co-authored a new scholarly paper on engagement, The University of Queensland's Associate Professor of Marketing Frank Alpert has found that many managers simply order staff around, instead of genuinely engaging them in the company's marketing messages and mission.
This, Alpert believes, is resulting in disengaged customer service.
"If you order staff around, you get false smiles and everyone can tell when the checkout person for example is giving you a false smile," Dr Alpert said. "You need to spend the time to explain the values of the company, the mission of the company and the position of the company to staff to convince them, so they internalise the message and can therefore implement it in their engagement with customers."

Dr Alpert points to a 2008 global benchmark study of businesses that revealed that although 80% of executives thought customer strategies were more important than ever, only 23.9% of employers agreed that their staff were well-versed in how to please customers.

"Mere satisfaction is not enough anymore, merely satisfying customers doesn't get you loyalty," he said. "Loyalty requires you to delight the customers, which is a higher level and a harder goal."

And Dr Alpert believes that although the total engagement approach required more effort from employers, it would result in greater staff and customer loyalty.

Along with Engaged Marketing founder and CEO Chris Roberts , Dr Alpert has co-authored a scholarly paper on engagement which will be published this year in the international Journal of Product & Brand Management.

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