Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Cost of One Bad Apple?

It seems obvious that happy customer service staff give better service to the customers. But could one disgruntled bully wreck an entire customer service team? William Felps and Terence Mitchell of the University of Washington Business School think so. They report in their study of 51 manufacturing teams, that teams with one bad apple were more likely to have conflict, poor communication and cooperation breakdowns. The outcome was inadequate performance. Felps says that "Managers at companies, particularly those in which employees often work in teams, should take special care when hiring new employees,". "This would include checking references and administering personality tests so that those who are really low on agreeableness, emotional stability or conscientiousness are screened out," he said. Considering that a recent report "Multichannel Service and Support Survey" by www.supportindustry.com estimates that 17% of companies will lose a customer if they have 2 negative experiences, and a full 41% of the responding organisations to their survey said they would lose a customer with 4 negative experiences, perhaps there is value to be reaped in old fashioned team profiling tied to old fashioned customer satisfaction measures.

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