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Are bad employees ruining your business?


I just need to talk about my customer service experience that I had yesterday. I took the commuter train in Montreal yesterday, but since I was early I took the time to buy a coffee and a sandwhich at a small shop in the food court.

So I walk up to this small sandwhich place where there is only one employee but no customers whatsoever and there she is, her back to the potential customer flow , listening to some asian TV series (she was Thai) and not paying any attention to anything going on around her. Eye contact is so crucial in such an environment to stop clients and get them to your place.

So I approach her and ask if she has a BLT sandwhich since it wasn’t on the menu. She turns around, like I annoyed her, look at me, says nothing, slowly get up and say “meh, yeah, we have that”.

One thing I have to say is that bad customer service absolutely drives me up the wall. I come here to be served with a smile, otherwise I’ll make my own sandwhich (or well… buy it somewhere else, this is a food court, you know it’s not like if I need to hunt or something).

So anyway, she throws gives me my any coffee (didn’t ask what type I wanted and she frankly didn’t care) and then goes on the other side of the place to make my sandwhich. As I pour sugar in the coffee, I notice there is no milk anywhere, so I figure it must be behind the counter. I say “Hey! Could you tell me where can I get the milk please?” and she has no reaction. She clearly heard me. But work is hard, I get it.

I decide to not start a fight for something that can wait 2 minutes. So she comes back with my sandwhich, which she throws at me and I ask her where I can get milk. She points at where I took the sugar. I quickly tell her there is no milk there, I just checked.

But no, she insist the milk is in the 2 holes.

I go back to check, she’s right, there is milk:


I then turn around to talk to her, but she is already back listening to her favorite TV series. I hail her again, politely: “Hey, hum… Some other customers thought this was a garbage hole and threw their garbage in. You should really clean it out this is not great.”

She tells me: “Oh. Yeah. I know” and then turns around to finish her episode, truly too busy to clean up that 10 second job.


So here’ my question: Is there one of your employee, that might give you a GREAT impression when you’re around, but when you’re not he/she is giving AWFUL service to your customer and scaring them away, throwing away thousands of dollars of your investments, hard earned money, sweat and tears and hours of hard work and time thinking at how to make your business known, etc?

Never assume an employee is doing a great job, no matter how great they look when you’re around. This girl here could be driving people like me to Google Business or Facebook Business or Yelp (or… their blogs) and making them leave awful reviews about your business that will literally make you lose thousands of dollars because people will read it and then avoid your business for months or even years, EVEN if you fired that employee long ago and fixed the customer services.

Seriously, be ruteless: a “C Player” will NEVER become an “A Player”. Studies prove that. You can never turn a bad, lazy employee into a great employee. People are born that way (there are exceptions, but very, very, very rare so don’t count on that). You’re not in the business of giving money to lazy, undeserving people that will put you out of business. You’re in business to make a living, improve your condition, give great employees a job. And unless you own a school, you’re not either in the business of training people to become better humans. Train them to give coffee, make a sandwhich and some other basic customer services things. But you’re not  there to take them by the hand to the finish line.

And you know what? This person will change job soon and might get an interview with YOU and he/she will look amazing and give great impression but know that: she’s still the same lazy, careless person. Know how to spot them, hire “fake customers” to test your employees. This is a great investment in these times where any mad client can leave a bad review on other websites about your business and drive away tons of potential clients.

Never let bad apples ruin your business.

Joel Alain is on a quest to the 4 Hour Workweek Lifestyle, Accelerated Growth & Meta Learning. He rejects status quo and the so called "common sense" and creates his own vision of reality. The goal being to live the life you've imagined, no matter how crazy that is. Hop in.
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