Service with a smile

What is the effect of your customers’ behaviour on your staff and, in turn, on the performance of your business?

New research published in Human Performance examines the causes of counterproductive work behaviour. This behaviour is defined by researchers as “volitional acts by employees that harm or intend to harm organizations and their stakeholders.”

Researchers surveyed 438 foodservice employees and found that those who experience extra stress from customers are more likely to exhibit counterproductive work behaviour. In other words, extra stress placed on your workforce by difficult customers will make them more likely to exhibit behaviour that could damage your business.

The actual behaviour foodservice employees admitted to included making fun of customers to someone else (79%), lying (78%), making a customer wait longer (65%), ignoring them (61%), acting rudely (52%), arguing (43%), to absolute extremes such as refusing a reasonable request (25%), confronting a customer about tips (19%), insulting a customer (14%) increasing a tip without permission (11%), contaminating food (6%), or threatening a customer (5%).

Dr. Lisa Penney, one of the co-authors said, “Foodservice employees generally do their best to provide a positive experience for customers. However, they are human too, and the strain of dealing with extremely rude, demanding or difficult customers can manifest in ways that do not benefit customers.”

Ellie Clayton



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