Rude behaviour among employees turns off customers

July 23rd, 2010 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 23 (IANS) Rude behaviour among employees can turn off consumers, even when it is not directed at them.
In restaurants, banks, government offices, retail stores and universities, consumers frequently report seeing employees behaving badly towards their colleagues.

“These findings underscore the need for organisations to promote employee civility,” said study co-author Deborah MacInnis.

MacInnis is Professor of Business Administration at University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

“Training employees to treat one another well enhances the bottom line because of its impact on customer behaviour,” says MacInnis, according to a university release.

Across four studies appearing in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, MacInnis and co-authors Christine Porath, assistant professor of management at Georgetown University, and Valerie Folkes, professor of marketing at Marshall School, examined how consumers witnessing acts of employee incivility may extend their experiences to more general feelings about the company.

They found that people witnessing employee incivility - in this case, a store manager calling an employee an “idiot” - were faster to jump to negative conclusions about the company than those who witnessed employee incompetence.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that customers turned against the company even in instances when the rude employee was trying to help the customer.

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