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Crisis of Silence

New research reveals that staff on average can witness up to 20 customer service abuses per year. Witnessing staff rarely take charge to rectify these customer service abuses when another staff member is present. This type of behaviour will adversely impact the company’s bottom line. In fact the study estimates about a 20% drop in revenue per customer impacted.

Imagine you are on a cruise ship and while you were off doing an activity, your room flooded due to an on board leak. This was the experience of one couple on their cruise.

The crew acted promptly to correct for the damage and restore the cabin to an appropriate state. The problem was no one notified these passengers that their cabin had been impacted by a disaster. When they arrived back to their cabin later that day, they found a large fan in the middle of the cabin and the carpet and their belongings were all soggy. There was also a fowl odour.

When they spoke with senior staff they were told that they were doing all they could to rectify the situation. As the staff member made this decision, another staff member looked on. He had a better solution that would not only salvage the customers’ experience on that cruise, it would ensure that they spoke favourable about the company and even recommend it to others.

So why didn’t that staff member speak up?

This is what’s termed as the crisis of silence, when a staff member who sees a problem does not speak up for fear that they do not have the power or authority to raise a concern or solution. In situations such as these staff unintentionally collude in undermining the organisation. They assume that someone higher-up will “deal with it.”

To resolve this issue, this staff member would have proactively sought out the passengers affected. Personally advising them of the situation and what they were willing to do for them as a result of the inconvenience. He would have put them up in a spare cabin. Even though the temporary accommodation was more upmarket, it still did not cost the cruise ship any more. It also provided a delightful experience at having been upgraded for circumstances out of their control.

Organisations that have customer service ethics and design, are much less likely to suffer from the crisis of silence. Also staff motivation and engagement plays a large role. Motivation levels have been found to be positively correlated with the level of service a customer experiences. When staff are happy and motivated they are more willing to do the right thing for the customer in all sorts of situations.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016 at 1:28 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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