Your Career and You: “Attitude…People DO Notice, You Know?!?”

Publication1My undergrad Communication students at Curry College, where I oversee the Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, probably think I’m a robot.

Why? Because just about every other sentence out of my mouth is something about customer service and its role in building…or trashing…a company’s reputation…and its chances of success.

One of the critical pieces in this customer service=reputation=success puzzle is “attitude.” The way you interact with customers is seen by them as the value that your company puts on their contributions to its well-being.

Good attitude… “Thanks SO much for coming in today! How may I help you?” versus bad attitude… “That’s not my responsibility. Go over there and someone else will help you.”

As much as I would like to believe, in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, that these opposing attitudes no longer exist, they do.

How do I know?

Because I experienced both recently within the span of 30 minutes at competing banks across the street from each other…from employees with similar job titles discussing the same subject.

The first…aka “bad baby”…neither smiled nor gave any sign of appreciating that we had come to her bank to discuss what was, for us, a fairly significant financial transaction.

Nary a smile nor a welcoming greeting. Just down to business…in as short a period of time as possible. Then, when the time came to actually complete the transaction…BLAM…the door shut and her job was through…the next step was someone else’s responsibility.

End result? We left the bank having only partially completed the transaction.

We then walked across the street to the second bank, where we also are customers, to discuss the same transaction…curious as to how we would be received.

The second employee…aka “good baby”…was in the middle of trying to reconcile a pile of stuff that had sprouted on her desk over the Christmas holiday.

As soon as she learned why we had come in, she immediately came out of her office with a smile, stuck her hand out, introduced herself, and invited us to sit down to talk.

Then, when the time came to provide us with information to help us decide on the transaction…SHAZAM!…she bounced out of her chair, bounded into the outer office, made copies of all necessary information…taking time to highlight and write notes alongside key items…and bounced back into the office for further discussion.

End result? In the next couple of days, we are going to take a sizable chunk of money OUT of Bank # 1…home of “bad baby”…and are going to deposit it in Bank # 2…with “good baby.”

Now…to put a little perspective on this…we’ve been with # 1 for more than 20 years…# 2 for about a year, and the irony is that this whole sequence of events was brought about by an employee who “did her job.”

I’m sure some of you are sitting there thinking, “Kirk, you whiny baby…get over it. She ‘did her job.’ What more do you expect?”

Well, that’s my point. It’s not about simply doing your job.

It’s about how others perceive you, as a representative of a company/service that they would like to do business with, doing your job.

Do you appear to care that they want to do business with your company?

And if you don’t appear to care, why should they??

As the saying goes, “Perception is reality.” And attitude is judged almost entirely on perception…what others see. People DO notice, you know?!?


About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 20 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in careers, Communication, Curry College, Customer Service, feedback, public relations, Undergraduate Communication and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Your Career and You: “Attitude…People DO Notice, You Know?!?”

  1. Corina Manea says:

    Excellent example of customer service Kirk. Thank you for sharing your experience which, unfortunately is quite common in all industries. I´m 100% with you: it´s not about doing your job…description. These days it´s about giving 101% and being there for your client whether you work in a brick and mortar office or online. It´s about treating your customer like you would like to be treated when entering a bank, a restaurant, hairdresser, etc.
    Attitude is everything. Attitude “covers” you when you don´t have all the answers and you´re working on finding them. Attitude expands your network beyond your day job. Attitude can land you a new job, a new client, a promotion and grateful colleagues.
    Yeah, it´s all about attitude!


    • kirkhazlett says:

      Thanks so much for these thoughtful comments, Corina. I actually had the exact opposite experience at another branck of Bank # 1 about an hour ago. The service rep there totally GOT the concept. All’s not lost! 🙂


  2. Customer service really is the new frontier, isn’t it? I think smart companies started realizing that several years ago, even as they grappled with social media. And the really smart ones jumped at using social channels for customer service, and to communicate with customers and prospects, even if they weren’t quite sure what they were doing (let’s face it, many don’t!). That’s also why I love Adam Toporek’s blog and focus: “Customers that Stick.” Ultimately, isn’t that what we all want?

    Great post as usual, Kirk!


  3. Pingback: Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. | Monday Roundup: New Beginnings

  4. Pingback: 6 Ways The Right Attitude Can Set You Up For Success - nutspr

  5. Pingback: 6 Ways The Right Attitude Can Set You Up For Success | Nuts PR

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