Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Invisible Employees Make Customers Disappear

April 19, 2017

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Stacie is a professional who works in a Milwaukee investment firm. After work one evening, she decided to take advantage of a big end-of-season sale at a local sporting goods store. As Stacie entered the store, she was greeted by an employee who informed her that ski jackets were located on the lower level. Soon, Stacie was engrossed in her search for the perfect jacket.

She had been shopping for over 30 minutes when she found what she wanted—a beautiful ski jacket that looked great on her and was on sale. Around the same time as her discovery, it dawned on Stacie that she had been alone the whole time she had been shopping.

Not one employee had approached her, talked to her or offered assistance. In fact, Stacie hadn’t even seen an employee since she first stepped through the door. They knew she was there. After all, she was the only customer in the store. Adding to her frustration was the sound of employees chatting and laughing in the back room.

Since Stacie is a devoted “loyalty leader,” she reluctantly placed her dream jacket back on the rack and marched out of the store. “It was a matter of principle,” she said. “I hated to walk away from such a great deal, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to purchase a product from people who obviously don’t care about their customers.”

Invisible employees are hiding in plain sight everywhere!

Here are few examples:

  • The boss who hides in her office and keeps her door closed
  • The bank teller who tries not to make eye contact with the next person in line
  • The waiter who stands in the corner gossiping with co-workers while customers are patiently awaiting coffee refills
  • The employee who tunes out co-workers as he sits in his cubicle wearing headphones and listening to music
  • The financial representative who doesn’t stay in touch with her clients
  • The contractor who doesn’t come back to correct a problem with his remodeling job
  • The service rep who reads her email messages while on the phone with a customer
  • The postal worker who closes his window when there are customers standing in line

Many factors can cause employees to become invisible.

Poor time management, ineffective leadership, laziness, stress, high call volumes, apathy, and boredom are just a few of the reasons employees become invisible.

In order for employees to take ownership of service, they need to participate in identifying ways to remove obstacles. Invite employees at all levels of the organization to help create guidelines that will make them become more visible to customers.

Sample guidelines:

  • Keep service windows open when there is more than one customer in line.
  • Make eye contact with customers.
  • Smile and greet every customer who comes within 10 feet of you.
  • Set aside personal tasks such as reading email while interacting with a customer on the phone.
  • Acknowledge co-workers when they stop by your desk.

Don’t give your customers reasons to disappear. Instead, focus on ways to create a warm, inviting environment for your customers. Be present and visible by engaging with your customers and co-workers.

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