Schedule Time to Talk

Think Tank

The Customer Experience Conundrum - Don't Blame the Employees.

The Customer Experience Conundrum - Don't Blame the Employees.

You have probably heard about “The Great Resignation” by now. You can read more about it here, here, and here. Fed-up employees are running for the door. After over a year plus of COVID -19 chaos. Uncertainty. Ambiguity. Forced change. Juggling work, family, parenting, and life in general.  In some industries, a mass exodus from the workplace is brought on by a combination of an increasingly stronger job market, more available opportunities, and a re-evaluation of personal values. Many who were not laid off or furloughed found new ways of working. New processes. New flexibility. They adapted. They still managed to perform their jobs and service customers even in the midst of all the stress and chaos. And now many businesses (not all) are just expecting a return to what was. A return to the same old processes and ways of working, with a reduction in flexibility and often an increase in workload. And it’s not cutting it for employees or customers. This doesn’t only contribute to a bad employee experience, it also contributes to a bad customer experience. Yes, the two are linked. Unhappy employees rarely care to give their all to make customers happy. When employees suffer, customers suffer. The business suffers.  No. Just No! And that’s exactly what many employees are saying as they head for the exit. And it’s creating what I call, the customer experience conundrum. Employees aren’t happy because businesses aren’t adapting processes, changing to new ways of working and innovating service delivery. 

I recently experienced the impacts of the customer experience conundrum.

I was at a restaurant, my first time dining out on vacation in well over a year, and it was miserable! Although we had reservations, we waited for over an hour. And then another 20 minutes at the table before we even got drinks. We walked out. The business lost money. And unfortunately, the servers lost tips. I don’t blame the staff. I blame the management.  And in this case, I spoke to the manager. He was apologetic and kept saying he was short-staffed. So I shared a story with him.  I was a server. I also worked as a barback when I was younger. Servers, hospitality people, bartenders, etc. should not be blamed for poor service in times of a staff shortage. Management should. Management should adapt to support their staff so the staff can best support customers. If you're short-staffed, why is your hostess not helping to clear tables? Or your barbacks? Better yet, why do you have so much of the restaurant open to guests if you know that you can't supply them with good service because you don't have enough staff? You should just close the sections of the restaurant you can't staff appropriately. Sure, you may lose income. But if you continue to provide a shitty employee experience and a shitty customer experience, you will lose even more income.  The manager’s response made me laugh. He said, “wow, I wish you worked for me when you were a server. And I had someone on my team who thinks like you.” I told him that, although my server days are long behind me, as I now do work in the process improvement and the employee and customer experience arena, I empathize, so was happy to share my thoughts. But, as a customer, I’m still walking out.   The server suffered on a tip because management didn't bother to consider that new processes might need to be required to provide a good customer experience. We are all adapting. And for now, I have a spouse who is a great cook and access to DoorDash, so it will be a while before I dine out again!

Workplace Return Checklist.

Have you been impacted by the customer experience conundrum as an employee or a customer? 

What are some ways you think businesses can resolve the customer experience conundrum? 

_ About Scott Span, MSOD, CSM: is CEO at Tolero Solutions. His focus is – people.  He is a Leadership Coach & People Strategist, Communications and Change Management. He supports leaders, teams, and individuals to survive and thrive through personal and professional change and transition. He supports organizations to engage and retain talent and wow customers, achieving success through people, creating places where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business. Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog Facebook *All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of any and all of this content is prohibited without the authorized consent of Tolero Solutions and the author.