You are it
The customer can be approaching you in a vulnerable way. From an imbalance of power. They are often emotional (they are stressed trying to get a consent to start building or they want to buy a house and desperate for an old CCC). These are not easy conversations as especially if the answer is “No” they can’t have what they want straight away. There is a process to follow.
It gets even more robust when there is a post recovery situation as we have learned post the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes. Other people want information fast and often it’s just not there to have.
Over time it is easy to build up a negative picture of the customer, and ‘habits’ of responding to their sometimes-unreasonable demands.
All of this can propagate a “them and us” mentality rather than we are all in this together. The people arguing did not write the rules but are battling to interpret and apply them as best they can with as less risk as possible.
I have personally witnessed the abuse dished out at Councils across the counter. It is feral! I have also seen hardened building officials wizened to this fact deliberately
Which can lead to a manager wondering why the customer feedback reports are so poor. The customer hates dealing with rules and often staff hate dealing with the customers emotions or unwillingness to follow the rules.
At a recent event one of our course participants had an interesting reflection – my paraphrase of what she said - I may not be able to change it all at once but I’m going to try changing the customer experience one person at a time.
Sometimes all it takes is a change in language, attitude, or approach. Small changes in communication, including body language, tone and words used can make BIG differences in how things evolve.
I think this person was very astute – we have choices, we can continue the ‘them and us’ battle or we can tweak our approach just a bit to try something different one person and a time – so are you willing to take up that challenge?
If this is something you or one of your team struggles with daily, we have some strategies and methods than can assist in turning this around, we have delivered this training in house to teams, but also offer our more private one on one coaching service.
Book a one on one session here