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Rude staff – who’s to blame? 21 May 2012

WHEN a staff member is rude to a customer, is the staff member to blame?
 
Surprisingly, probably not! When things are mishandled like this, it is usually the culture or the systems to blame.
 
Culture is the attitude and behaviours engendered in the company. Have you ever dealt with a firm which makes you hang on the line for 20 minutes and pushes you from one employee to the next? Do you get the feeling they don’t want to know you?
 
These firms have developed a culture of exactly what you are feeling. You are small, unimportant and a nuisance. The employee who is rude to a customer may have picked up this attitude from you!
 
No, you are not rude to customers, but perhaps you make derogatory comments about some of them and your staff notice this.
 
Your staff copy you! It is your job to develop the culture in the firm. The other big problem, when things go wrong, is the systems. When something does not work out properly, don’t dismiss it as a one-off problem. Talk with your staff (even if there is only one) and gather ideas for ensuring the same problem does not repeat.
 
Agree on a system change to be followed in the future and write this down.

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