Bad customer service, surly staff, lack of information…. annoying aren’t they?
While public relations is, to many people today, synonymous with media relations, the term itself reflects what it actually is; managing the image and reputation of an organisation or brand in any interface with the public.
There are many day to day interactions between an organisation’s staff and its audiences where they seem unaware that their roles includes being PR ambassadors, even if that is not officially written on the job description.
In the way they operate, without realising it, they leave the potential or existing customer thinking negatively about them and so the organisation.
Here are seven situations where this occurs, where reputations are often damaged but where the PR team are too rarely involved.
1. Staff – – sales prevention
Some staff forget that without customers they will have no job. So they won’t answer the phone or let customers in five minutes before the official closing time or, even shut the shop early , so they can leave early or on time. ‘They don’t want my business so I am never coming back.’
2. Staff – customers – so what?
How often – – do till staff forget – ‘can I help you?’ or ‘thank you’. Too often. To them customers are a nuisance who disturb their day dreams.
3. Staff – OMG
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! (Why did this meaningless phrase become the only expression of so many people?)
The inane incoherent chat of some staff in the background while a colleague is serving inspires the thought – ‘they don’t employ the brightest, do they!’ Better they say nothing.
4. Telephone – customer avoidance, sales prevention
If, at the end of a call, a customer feels that they have wasted their time battling with the auto answering service that is designed to prevent anyone from speaking to a human being or have been passed round from A to Z, then the reputation has been harmed. They do not want to speak to you
5 Internet contact – more customer avoidance
A company website that makes it as difficult as possible to ‘contact us’ especially by providing a form for a message and no phone number is saying – we really don’t want your business or to speak to you. Take your business elsewhere, please.
6. Customer information?
Lack of announcements, unintelligible announcements – most transport companies think their passengers are mushrooms…
7. Handling complaints
Complaints should not be viewed as a nuisance. They are feedback from customers telling the organisation how it can retain and attract more business by improving its quality and service. If handled so that the customer is satisfied, then they can often change from being a threat to a positive PR output – a new brand ambassador!.
Many organisations are aware of the importance of managing their reputation in these areas; too many are apparently not.