Helping employees deal with bad customer behavior

Feb. 1, 2021

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For hospitality industry employees, providing great service includes handling inevitable service failures and disgruntled guests, whose mistreatment can take a toll on employees and negatively affect their work performance. Employees often fake their expressions in order to address these complaints, leading to emotional exhaustion and service sabotage.

Lindsey Lee says prioritizing customer satisfaction without considering employee wellbeing can impact an organization’s bottom line. Her research suggests employee consideration of the guest’s perspective is an effective way to change their negative emotions when dealing with bad behavior. This shifts their focus toward why a guest is being rude and helps employees change their emotions, generating more positive outcomes for both parties and increasing employees’ willingness to use service recovery strategies, like customer compensation.