You’re asking one question. What does customer service have to do with workplace violence (WPV)? Customer service has many facets to it, much like WPV, and therefore the service you provide, or don’t, can be the spark that ignites an incident.
Every business has both internal and external customers. And how you treat them can have an impact on if you’ll have an incident within your business. Again there are many kinds of WPV that you simply can’t prevent. And having a customer perpetrate an incident against an employee may or may not be preventable, but why would you want to take the chance?
Customer service has been a huge bug-a-boo for years for businesses. Mostly it is concentrated on external customers. But you have to give as much attention to the internal customer as well.
So what do you have to consider and think about in connecting WPV and customer service? Here are just a few tips for you;
These are the people that work with you every day. Whether they are inside your business or not. Whether they are your actual employees or not. Whether you are the sole proprietor or have hundreds of employees. If you look at it in a broad perspective then you’ll know who your internal customers are.
If you are a large company and have many departments, then every single department that you work or deal with is a customer. Take for example in a manufacturing plant you have at least 10 departments working there or maybe in an off-site location. Shipping & receiving, manufacturing (and if you make different products, each product line), quality control, management, support staff (mainly the office), maintenance, sales, security, housekeeping/janitorial, and etc. And these are just a few of what you have.
This may be a little easier to think of, but not as easy to distinguish at times. This is mainly because some of your external customers can also be internal customers. People such as delivery or other support personnel. Contracted janitorial or security people. They may be an external provider/customer, but they work at your company on a regular basis becoming an internal customer as well.
But over and above the 5 sets, there are attitudes that your employees utilize, whether by habit or by training that can also affect customers/co-workers to commit violence. And these are above the attitudes that companies have towards their employees. Not a single one of them is good and unfortunately you run into them far too frequently in the business world today.
- Do I Look Like I Care?
- Lint On The Shoulder
- South Pole
- I, Robot
- By The Book
- Exercise Time
These are by no means the only things that need to be taught, not doing of course, and thought about when it comes to customer service to both internal and external customers. But it is a start. Most training programs in companies don’t go far enough in teaching customer service and then they won’t empower their employees to solve problems – and sometimes it’s justified.
But you have to keep in mind that if someone is ‘on the edge’ and ready to go postal, then a bad customer service relationship may push them over. And it doesn’t matter if it is co-workers or actual outside customers. They can all react violently if that case.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized authority on workplace violence prevention. He has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues. His forthcoming e-book ‘One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence’ will be out in June. You can read more about WPV/security at www.todays-training.com