The Customer is Not Always Right! Protect Your Customer Service Employees

Unchaining Change Leadership

The belief that the customer is always right may seem like a great way to attract and retain customers. However, it may end up doing more harm than good to your business as customers may not be right all the time. You need to also protect your customer service employees.

The idea also tends to give clients the upper hand no matter the circumstances and subjugate employees. It also compels businesses to do the customer’s bidding in fear of losing business at the expense of their employees and resources.

Since customer service can make or break your business, it is crucial to protect your customer service employees. You should also know where to draw the line when dealing with customers and their complaints.

Read on to find out more about why the customer may not always be right, and ways to protect your customer service employees from work-related challenges, including harassment and bullying from customers. 

Why the Customer Is Not Always Right

While the customer may always be right about how they want to be treated, it does not necessarily mean it is best for your business. Below are a few reasons to stand by your employees and discard the customer is always right belief when dealing with your clients

1. Empowers Abusive Behavior

The idea of the customer is always right offers abusive customers a chance to be tyrannical as they know they can demand anything and get away with it. Abusive clients will take advantage of the situation to have their way, disregarding customer service efforts. It also encourages abrasive behavior from clients, which may end up affecting your business in the long run and creating a hostile working environment for your employees.

2. Makes Customer Service Employees Vulnerable

Since the customer gets the upper hand, customer service employers become vulnerable to disrespect, abuse, and harassment. If you run a business with numerous, you should expect to deal with demanding customers who are hard to please. By being on the client’s side all the time, your employees feel sidelined, which ruins their motivation. While your customers are a significant part of the business, they are easily dispensable, which is not the case with your employees.

3. Customers Are Not Perfect

Customers are also human, meaning they make mistakes and do not know everything. You know your business more than everyone else, and a customer’s complaints may arise due to ignorance. When you give clients the upper hand instead of correcting them when they are wrong, you enable their behavior. Most clients complain when things or services don’t function the way they want and may want to offer advice or make unrealistic demands.

4. Causes Inefficiency in Customer Service

Putting customers first results in poor customer service in the long run as employees feel less valued and their motivation drops. They stop caring about their job, which eventually leads to inefficiencies in customer service delivery. On the other hand, supporting your employees gives you a happy workforce, which translates to more energy and motivation in service provision as they do their best. With a happy customer service team, you get fewer complaints and more satisfied customers.

5. Strains Working Relationships

When you continuously side with rogue clients, you ruin your relationship with your customer service employees. The bitterness, stress, and frustration gradually build up to a lack of loyalty and defensiveness, which strains your working relationships. It also shows that you don’t trust your customer service employees’ abilities to do their work effectively.

6. Limited Resources

Businesses operate on limited resources, including funds, time, and human resources. Therefore, granting every disgruntled customer their wishes may not be sustainable. As long as you have taken all the necessary steps to address a client’s complaint, you should close the matter and move on. It makes little business sense to spend all your resources pleasing few unappreciative clients when you can use the same to meet the requirements of those who see value in your products and services.

Attaining a balance requires you to find the best way to offer an exceptional customer service experience without compromising your employees or business. The above reasons should help you make sound decisions every time you get caught between siding with your customers and supporting your employees.

How to Protect your Customer Service Employees

Employers have a responsibility to create a safe working environment for their employees. Since Customer service employees are at the forefront of your business, below are tips for protecting them in their line of duty.

Take Care of Employees’ Psychological Wellbeing

Customer service employees work under pressure and endure numerous risk factors that can affect their mental health. From stressful and frustrating customers to low job control and high workloads, all these can take a toll on your staff’s psychological wellbeing. As an employer, you can take care of your employees’ mental wellbeing by minimizing risk factors and ensuring a smooth working relationship with management, colleagues, and customers.  By safeguarding your employees’ wellbeing, you put them in a better position to offer stellar services, achieve employee retention and boost your business growth.

Create a Positive Working Environment

The best way to maintain a healthy working environment for your customer service employees is to be supportive. Create an environment where employees are free to report any issues about frustrating customers, and address their concerns with management. Doing so inspires trust from your customer service employees and helps them feel safe. Avoid retaliating against employees for the reports they make, and ensure to investigate and take the necessary action in case of complaints.

Create Policies against Workplace Bullying and Harassment

Since some customers can be verbally abusive and even discriminatory, you can protect your employees through workplace policies against bullying and harassment. Make it clear that bullying and harassment have no place in your company and provide proper channels for employees to report such matters. You can consult an employment lawyer to help you develop effective workplace policies that suit the needs of your business.

Have a Solid Customer Service Policy

A customer service policy guides your staff on handling clients and ensures consistency in customer treatment. When drafting a customer service policy, be sure to include an overview of your products or services, as well as your company values and standards.  The policy provides proper guidance, resulting in less room for error, faster service provision, and improved customer experience.  Happy and satisfied clients mean fewer complaints, and you don’t have to deal with the adverse effects of sticking to a “customer is always right” slogan.

Conduct Regular Employee Training

As an employer, it is crucial to conduct regular training programs for your customer service employees. Doing so equips our employees with the necessary skills to handle difficult situations with clients and teaches them how to react. Ensure that the training anticipates common customer behaviors and covers a wide range of possible scenarios that customer service professionals experience in their line of duty.

Always put your customer service employees first and understand that customer experience is scalable. You don’t have to meet every customer’s demands, and it is okay to correct and sometimes stop working with some customers for the sake of your employees and business at large.

Customer service employees article and permission to publish here provided by Angela Martin at HKM Marketing. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on April 30, 2021.

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