Stop the (Negative) Chatter – 1/12/16 TOW

A friend recently shared her negative customer experience with me. While waiting in line at a grocery store, employees complained loudly between the checkout registers about their frustrations with how slow the system was at the time. Not only were they upset with the registers, but they were sharing it with every customer within earshot.

At the same time, ironically enough, her husband was waiting in an interminable line at his physician clinic. The check-in line was moving at snail’s pace, and when he finally made it to the front, he understood the reason for the delay – the new computer system was down, and they were working off manual schedules, documenting all clinical and billing information on hardcopy. Behind the frustrated registration clerk were her co-workers loudly proclaiming their anger with the computer system, the IT people who are charged with keeping the system running, the people who decided to install this system, and any other employee they could think of blaming.

These technology issues were obviously frustrating for the employees, and anyone who’s seen the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) or just sat while the computer’s hourglass rotates on the screen FOREVER understands the frustration.

But the point here is that the technology experiences were not good for the customer either. Negativity loudly spewed out of the employees in front of the customers, and the whole atmosphere suffered the collateral damage. Instead of the employee issues engendering empathy from customers, the employees complaining made these two customers not want to return.

Here’s a question to consider: What customer wants to spend their money to be in an environment of negativity?

The next time some internal issue happens, try to keep the negative chatter to a minimum when in front of the customer.

Don’t let your frustration be the reason the customer never returns.

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