5 Signs Your HR Customer Service Is In Jeopardy

Earlier this week I posted about a culture of service and thought of this post from the archives that I'd like to share with you today.

Engaged employees offer more positive interaction than disengaged employees. Positive interactions with employees will prompt customers, vendors and job applicants to return to your organization.

In his recent article, What is Employee Engagement, Kevin Kruse defines engagement as, "the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals." He continues, "Engaged employees actually care about their work and their company."

Why should you care? People like to work for and buy things from employees (and brands) that satisfy them. They will fire those that don't.

Photo credit: Canadian Business.com via Andrew B. Meyers

Photo credit: Canadian Business.com via Andrew B. Meyers

One Chance to Make a Positive First Impression

I wanted a new wallet. My checkbook wallet, when paired with my iPad, smartphone and keys, messed with the relatively slim profile of my new purse. I went to Fossil on Friday and bought a smaller wallet. I started using it immediately and, by Saturday, I hated it.

I returned to Fossil, explained my dilemma and right there, next to the sign stating they will exchange only UNUSED items, I emptied the wallet I had been using and exchanged for another. The manager clearly had every right to deny my request-  but she did not.

This was my first time shopping there and I'll be back. 

My Give-a-Care is Busted

Not all business are as fortunate, or all employees as engaged, as the manager at Fossil was that one Saturday afternoon. Here are five strange but true signs your HR customer service is in jeopardy (courtesy of my HR friends and colleagues):

  1. Lights are on, computers are fired up and an employee comes up to HR at 7:25. HR employee says, "I'll help you, but, for the record, we don't open until 7:30."
  2. When asked a question that did not relate to her role, HR employee responds, "I don't have anything to do with that. Call someone else."
  3. When asked by an applicant why she did not get referred for a position, HR employee responds, "You are clearly not qualified for the position and with your lack of formal education, you'd have a better chance applying for unskilled positions." 
  4. When his inappropriate response to a customer was raised for discussion by his supervisor, the employee explained it this way, "I am a mirror, I reflect back what I see."
  5. An employee brings an error in her promotion pay calculation to HR. Without much ado - or any research - HR staff erases the old number, changes it to what the employee though it should be. Which was still wrong, BTW.

Nip it in the Bud

These incidents do not reflect the look and feel of employee engagement and, in each, you may have a performance problem on your hands. Is it a one-time incident or a pattern? Let it go at the risk of further jeopardizing your customer service, the engagement of your other staff and the overall performance of your team, department or organization. Nip it in the bud. Now.

Do You Have A Culture of Service?

The way a person envisions their role in an organization informs their choices, their actions and their decisions. How does the service dynamic play out in your organization?

Photo credit iStock

Photo credit iStock

I was quick footing my way to grab lunch the other day. I was firmly placing one Frye covered foot in front of the other when I entered a hallway and overheard an employee interacting with a Veteran.

Because we were at an intersection of corridors, I am assuming the Veteran apologetically asked for directions. The reason for the interaction is not as important as the response I heard from the employee: 

We are here to serve you. You are not here to serve us.

I turned back and saw an appreciative Veteran walking tall with a smile on his face. In that one moment, in that one interaction, one employee made a huge impact on those around her. She gets it.

I continued walking and wondered how an organization would be impacted if every employee, every manager, every HR professional and every leader envisioned their role in relation to their customers the very same way. 

What do you think?