5 top reasons why disengagement is a recipe for rude staff

According to our recent Twitter poll when we asked “As a customer what annoys you the most?” 41% of respondents voted for rude staff. Below are some of the reasons why your staff may be bad mannered and how you can solve the issues.

#1 No career prospects – Staff feel like they are in a dead end job and can’t see how their career is going to develop with your company. One of the main motivators to perform better is to be recognised and gain advantage within the business, whether this is a pay rise, promotion, or extra training. If staff can’t see how their actions are going to affect their progression, then they won’t really care how they treat customers because it will make no difference to them anyway.


  • Have guides which show what training and knowledge it takes to progress up in certain roles. These will motivate staff to actively learn more and take ownership of their role. For example, to move from sales assistant to supervisor they must have checked off – all till duties, opened and shut the shop (with supervision), stock checks, exceeded score on performance review at least five times in the year.
  •  Be clear about how staff can progress, you can do this in performance reviews or one to one meetings. When you can see weakness it is important to say how this affects their ability to progress and give them constructive feedback to improve and develop their abilities.


#2 No purpose – To put this simply…do your employees have a mission that they must fulfil which they achieve through their day to day work? If the answer is no then they are just going to be going through the motions when they serve your customers. For example, if your business is a children’s shoe shop, the parents are going to expect to be served with care and consideration for their child’s well-being with regards to the correct size and fit. If staff aren’t aware that this is the mission you want to achieve, then your customers will not receive the service they are looking for and take their custom elsewhere.


  • Ingrain your mission statement into job descriptions, demonstrate how an employees role relates to your mission statement. For example, for the children’s shoe company mentioned above, a sales assistants job description may say that it is their responsibility to provide care and advice with regards to shoe fitting for the child and always have their best interest at heart. This will guide them to provide the service that your customers are looking for.
  • Display and say your mission statement wherever and whenever you can. This can be done through posters in staff/stock rooms or by using Oplift Engage you can display digital, clickable banners which could be used to communicate your mission statement so that staff can view it on their own mobile device. Meetings should be centred around how staff are fulfilling the mission.


#3 No ownership  When you ‘own’ a role you pay attention to detail and start to care about the outcome because it is a reflection of you as a person and what you are capable of. If a member of staff’s role is to simply to follow instructions from their manager then the results are a reflection of their manager and not them, so why should they care? This can result in lazy service with no effort to make the customer’s experience the best one possible.


  • Make your staff work more independently and put them in charge of certain areas to give them a sense of control and ownership. For example in a restaurant, give each waiter/waitress a section of the eatery where they are responsible for. This means it is up to them to make sure that the particular section of restaurant they are looking after is up to standards and their diners all have the best experience. If they don’t it comes down to that staff member and no one else.


#4 No care – Staff feel there is no care given to them, they are called on their days off, they are stressed and pushed to the limit. This can mean they take their bad mood out on your customers. As the saying goes, if you don’t care for your staff, they won’t care for your customers.


  • Only call staff on their days off if absolutely necessary, otherwise, they will never fully enjoy their days away from work, which is vital for them to fully recharge their batteries.
  • If they looked overworked, do something about it. Arrange their days better so they are not working too many days in a row.
  • If they haven’t used much of their holiday, encourage them to do so. Sometimes staff don’t use paid leave if they don’t have any plans but holidays should be used for relaxation as well.


#5 No communication – Staff’s ideas or opinions aren’t listened to. This can result in destructive behaviour when talking to customers. For example, members of the team have suggested a different way to collect orders which would save a considerable amount of time. Senior members of the team listen but no action is ever taken. Customers moan about slow service to staff, staff agree and carry on serving with a non-care attitude, which is sure to frustrate your customers.


  • Have a suggestion box or board where staff are encouraged to write down ideas and improvements. Every month hold a senior meeting to discuss these to try and put them into action. The ones which you can’t change, explain to staff why in a team meeting.
  • Put up a shopping list of things of things you would like to improve and ask staff to write suggestions and comments.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 9th February 2018