By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff
Providing a high quality of customer service can require empathy, knowledge of the customer’s pain points or even technological solutions that help make the process easier for the consumer. Sometimes, however, all it takes is a little common sense.
In one case 24-year-old woman was refused at a Starbucks because her service dog, trained to help her cope with the affects of a traumatic brain injury, was not wearing any identification. The Americans With Disabilities Act explicitly states that public businesses must serve customers with service animals and that the consumer is not required to show any proof of a disability or identification proving the animal is trained for service.
Although businesses should train employees so that they understand the law, it is certainly possible and even understandable that the Starbucks worker might have simply forgotten about it. What’s inexcusable about the incident, however, is that the employee was worried that the woman might be lying about her dog being a service animal. After all, what possible reason could she have for misrepresenting something like that?
On the off chance that the woman was being dishonest, the employee should have had the sense to think about which would be a bigger mistake for him and the company:
- Letting a woman bring a dog who wasn’t actually a service animal into the coffee shop
- Refusing to serve a woman with a disability
Anybody who stops to think about this question can recognize the answer is completely obvious. So what is the moral of this story? The way I see it there are two major lessons to be learned. First, organizations should train their employees to the best of their ability and then stress that if a rare situation arises that was not covered in training, they should stop, take a breath and use their best judgment. More often than not the employee’s first instinct will be correct, so he or she should trust that gut feeling.
Secondly, hiring experienced employees is always a good idea. The fact is that the longer someone spends in the workforce, the more likely that individual is to be able to handle unexpected situations. That is why at InfoCision, for instance, our Communicators:
- Have an average age of over 40 years and an average tenure of more than 4.5 years, and 78 percent are full-time employees
- Receive up to four months of client-specific training and are brand experts by the time training is complete
- Are provided the opportunity to earn performance-based compensation and, as such, are committed to the highest level of professionalism
From time to time, employees at every company make mistakes—that is inevitable. But exercising a little common sense is a good first step toward limiting those miscues. As a manager, all you can do is hire the right people, provide the right training and trust them to make the right choices.
Want some more of InfoCision’s top tips for providing great customer service? Click here to read more blog posts on the subject.