Customer Service When It Hurts

We had an interesting thing happen yesterday that reminded me of the importance of being direct, even when it hurts.

We have a new person in training with our fulfillment team who is learning the ropes of our recruiting process. Last week this new employee sent an e-mail to a few of the temporary workers we have not worked with in a while to check their availability. She got a response from one of our staffers stating that she was no longer working with Wall Street Services because after contacting us multiple times with her availability and her desire to work, the WSS staff did not respond.

This particular temporary employee walked off a job we had placed her on with no notice to us or the client. So while our reluctance to place her is justified, we failed in speaking directly. It would have been appropriate when this temporary employee contacted us to let her know why we were reluctant to place her. That would have opened the dialogue necessary for her to mend her relationship with us and would have prevented her from wondering why we were not responding to her requests.

Unfortunately, the people who were working with this temporary employee were conflict averse and let her e-mails go unanswered.

I think that in this day and age, we as a company cannot afford to let communication go – even when it is uncomfortable. It is too easy for people who are disgruntled to post their grievances in a public and damaging place.

Facing conflict, however, requires a sensitive hand or we run the risk of causing greater upset. We have to carefully consider how we communicate, and must do so out of a genuine concern for the person to whom we are speaking. We must also be responsive to their reactions.

People are sensitive and it is critical that we recognize that when delivering a difficult message.