Are your customer service people acting like goalies? This analogy popped into my head the other day at the gym. Since everyone has been buzzing about the U.S.A. vs. Canada in the Olympics for hockey, it seems very timely.
If your employees are acting like goalies, it means this: when a complaint comes their way, they treat it as a puck. They put on their pads, get out their sticks, and deflect it. They deflect it back at the customer, or elsewhere, but most importantly they deflect it away from the net (themselves).
Here in Des Moines, the latest version of hockey is the brouhaha with some teachers at Legends restaurant. It all started when a teacher found a hair in her salad. She told the server about it, who said, "Well, I didn't put it there." Classic goalie behavior! Deflect!
When I was at the gym the other day, I wanted to use the sauna. It is on a timer, and the timer knob was loose and didn't work. I went to the front desk and told the woman there just that. Her response? "To turn on the timer, turn the knob until it clicks". Oh. my. gosh. Classic goalie behavior. It is so condescending to act like I don't know how to turn on a timer! It was obvious from her attitude that she didn't want to hear about my problem, didn't want to solve it, she just wanted to deflect the puck and make it go away.
People that complain are important. There, I said it. For every person that complains, there may be 10 or 20 that don't but won't come back. I once got a complaint about my labels that was truly a great thing and I will always be grateful for it. But I won't deny that at first I wanted to be a goalie.
Do you recognize this behavior in you or your employees? Tell them to take off their pads and put down their sticks!