Positive Path Recommended Reading

Rating your customer service attitude
By Karen Schmidt

Did you know that providing great service is actually good for your health! Providing great service can reduce your stress levels, decrease your workload and improve relationships with your customers, your colleagues and your manager.

So if we all know the benefits of providing great service why is it that we don’t always give great service to our customers? I think it’s because our attitude is wrong. To me, customer service is all about attitude. It doesn’t matter how much training you give people in meeting, greeting and completing the transaction. If they don’t have the right attitude all you will do is make them sound robotic.

So what are some of the common negative customer service attitudes out there? See if you can recognise your organisation in the following list.

This job would be great if it wasn't for the customers
Many employees don't see serving customers as an important task. In fact, they would rather avoid them altogether. They treat customers like an unwelcome interruption to their working day and let them know it. Their focus is on tasks, paperwork and following the system. This often happens when customer service is treated as a separate department rather than part of everyone’s job role.

They don’t pay me to be nice
Unlike American and European workers in service industries, Australians haven’t traditionally been paid via tips so there was no incentive to provide good service. The boss provided a regular wage each week regardless of how hard you worked. As long as you didn’t do anything really horrible to the customers you were OK. But watch out, because this is changing. More and more people are being paid bonuses and commissions that are directly linked to customer satisfaction.

I’m not your servant
We have the idea that serving someone means being their servant and that only people in hospitality and retail worry about service. If we sell a product or we are professionals then we believe that providing good customer service doesn’t include us. This attitude is changing now that formerly closed industries are able to advertise and compete for customers.

Do as I say not as I do
The problem that occurs when management don’t have the same attitude to customers as the staff are expected to. Management say they care about customers but the reality is they only care about bottom line results. Most company mission statements mention customer service as a priority but when you look at how they operate you realise it is just a statement.

But that wasn’t my fault
Instead of hiding internal problems from the customer, they highlight them. It’s easy to blame mistakes on other departments, especially when they can’t defend themselves. This attitude is the result of one or more departments forgetting they are part of a larger organisation. Remember, when you criticise another section they might just be saying the same things about you!

Some customers are more equal than others
This attitude develops when we only focus on the supposed big, important customers at the expense of the smaller ones. There are two problems with this approach. First, how do you tell which are the important ones since size isn’t the only indicator and second, often the big customers prove to be a lot more work and provide a lot less profit.


The first step to solving a problem is identifying that you have one. So have you seen yourself or your organisation described here? If you have that’s good . . . because now you can do something about it. It has taken years for these bad service attitudes to develop but it need only take days or hours for you to start changing them.

About the Author: Karen Schmidt is an award winning professional speaker, workshop leader and author who is on a mission to create fresh workplace attitudes that help people and organisations grow!. Karen believes you can increase productivity and bottom line results if your people have the right attitude in 5 key areas of: work, change, customers, people and managing. To find out more visit

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