your attitude sucks


This weeks THE REPORT addresses 5 issues pertinent to offering the service customers demand.

Have you ever had that experience where you know that the person you are talking to at a business really does not want to talk to you?

I can think of many occasion where I have called someone who demonstrated by their behaviour and remarks that they would much rather be doing something else and to that end want to get me off the phone as quickly as possible. I have had very similar experiences with assistants in Myers stores.

I would argue that such experiences are all too common and the research would suggest that I am right.

The question might then be – does this really matter?

I would argue that the answer is YES – it matters a great deal. It matters because:

  • It makes customers feel unwanted and insignificant – making purchase, repeat purchase and referral less likely.
  • It shortens the period of contact making an initial sale less likely and significantly reducing the potential for upselling of on selling.

Research shows that poor attitude has a significant negative impact on the level of satisfaction of customers. It is very damaging to business in the immediate term and perhaps even more damaging in the longer term – particularly in this era of social media.

Why then is such behaviour so common?

Part of the reason might be that businesses don’t know it is happening given that most people (96%) don’t complain.  This highlights the benefits of phantom shopping and consistent monitoring of staff performance.

Part of the reason is that staff are too busy or have too much to do – possibly as the result of reducing staff numbers in an effort to save money. Unfortunately, in such cases, it is very often the case that cost savings for reduced staff are outweighed by revenue losses resulting from less than satisfied customers.

Part of the reason is undoubtedly the poor training of staff. I would be a very wealthy man today if I had a dollar for every business person who has suggested that they do not invest more in training because of a high staff turnover – when research suggests that staff training actually reduces staff turnover.

Whatever the reason or combination of reasons – a great deal of business is lost because of poor staff attitudes. Conversely a lot of business is won because of really good staff attitudes.

I am sure there have been occasions for all of us where we have decided to purchase a product or service from a particular vendor due largely to the attitude of staff. Positive and helpful attitudes among staff is a very real opportunity for securing sales, up selling, on selling and facilitating referrals.


  1. Service standards represent a real opportunity, especially when it comes to staff attitudes.
  2. Poor staff attitudes cost sales, repeat sales and referrals. – both immediately and long term.
  3. Investing in staff through training actually increases retention rates and service levels.

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