young businessman pulling blank bannerLast week I went to an eye appointment at one of those franchise optical retailers. At that time of morning, it was only me (the customer) and about five employees. The optometrist left me alone to try on a pair of contact lenses, and while she did, an unfortunate event took place—one that put a damper on my overall customer experience.

The eye doctor walked into the store’s front room and spoke loudly to another employee.

“Come with me,” the eye doctor demanded.

“Why?” the employee questioned.

“Just come with me; I need to show you something now.”

The two women walked past me to the back, and then the screaming began.

“Look at this office! Seriously, how dirty can you be? She acts like this is just her office but we share it! This is so ridiculous.”

“Who do you share this with?”

“Dr. Jane Doe; she is a complete trash can. I mean seriously, is it that hard to clean up after yourself?”

The eye doctor then begins cursing as she expressed her frustrations about another doctor’s untidy habits with their shared office. And the employee (another woman) simply laughed and trash talked the other doctor as well.

The two women continued chatting as they walked back into the store’s front room, with the conversation shifting to birthing options (evidently the doctor was pregnant), how you can predict the sex of a baby and timetables for when they desired to have kids. After about 15 minutes, the eye doctor walked back to where I was sitting, put on a big smile, a soft, sweet voice and asked, “So, how do those work for you?”

And all I could think was, in the doctor’s own words, seriously?

  • This “professional” doctor who only minutes before was shouting profanities and insulting another doctor who wasn’t there to defend herself, was now smiling in my face as if nothing had ever happened.

Again, seriously?

I wish I were making this up, but unfortunately, it’s a true (and sad) story. That doctor’s unprofessional behavior can certainly cost the optical retailer customers and a loss of business. And the fact is poor communication practices and customer service cost many businesses dearly.

In fact, according to a infographic, poor customer experiences result in an estimated $83 billion loss for U.S. enterprises each year because of defections and abandoned purchases.  The infographic also explains how poor customer service can lead to poor customer experiences and negatively affect a company. Some include:

  • 89 percent of consumers who experience poor customer service with a company’s brand will leave for that business’s competition
  • 64 percent of brands receive “Ok” “Poor” and “Very Poor” ratings from their customers
  • Approximately 70 percent of customer service complaints on Twitter go unanswered

Based off my experience with that optical retailer last week, I would most certainly agree with the second statistic above and leave a “very poor” rating for that business. And I’m sure most customers in that situation would do the same.

The Problems

  • The doctor insulted another doctor and her co-worker.
  • The two women talked so loudly that the entire store (which was pretty empty and therefore easier for sound to travel) heard their “private” conversation.

The Possible Effects

  • The business’s brand and reputation is negatively impacted because the doctor’s unprofessionalism is a representation of the entire company.
  • People can assume that this business doesn’t pride itself on respectable, professional and courteous employees.
  • Customers will be turned off from conducting further business there because not only did the doctor act unprofessionally in the presence of a customer, she dismissed her actions as if they never happened.

Poor business communication practices can lead to a negative customer experience, which will certainly hurt one’s brand. I think it’s extremely important that employees really embrace the fact that they represent their employer and are oftentimes the difference between a positive and negative customer experience—and a successful or failing business.

Power your recruiting success.
Tap into, the largest network of recruiters.

in Business Communication]