Do you manage front-line workers as part of your job? If so, are you more concerned with making a million bucks than making your employees feel like a million bucks? You might want to pay attention to a new study from the University of British Columbia. It suggests that the way supervisors treat their front-line employees can have a direct impact on the way those employees, in turn, treat the customers.
According to the researchers at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, customers in general are becoming increasingly snarky to call-centre employees and other front-line service workers. And when telemarketers or customer-service agents are at the receiving end of this over-the-phone abuse, naturally it’s tempting as hell to hang up on people, direct their calls to a nonexistent department of the company, or openly question a customer’s parentage.
But the study found that whether or not employees actually give in to that temptation hinges on the amount of respect they get from their supervisors. If the workers are consistently treated with dignity, they’re a lot less likely to behave badly to rude customers. And that, in turn, is good for the bottom line.
I doubt this phenomenon is confined to call centres. When we’re dealing with less stress on the job – any job – we’re less likely to snap. So if you’re a boss, be nice to your employees. It’ll be worth your while. Treat them fairly, say thank you, remember their birthdays. And it wouldn’t kill you to bring doughnuts every Monday.