Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating positive social pressure, part of Innovative Customer Service Techniques.
- Can you imagine deliberately providing poor customer service? Unfortunately, this has happened to many people. We'd like to believe it couldn't happen to us, but mysterious forces are at work that might unexpectedly change our behavior. This video will reveal some of those secrets, and show you what you can do about it. Let's start with an example. I'd like to tell you about Camille. She used to work for a hotel that provided awful service. When Camille first started, she wanted to do a great job. But, she became uncomfortable whenever she provided great service.
None of her coworkers seemed to care about service, so Camille stood out like a sore thumb. Soon, Camille found herself providing poor service, just so she'd fit in with her team. Now this may be hard to believe, but an experiment conducted by psychologist Solomon Asch revealed that most of us would probably do what Camille did, if we were in the same situation. In Asch's experiment, he'd bring a test subject into a room with seven other people. The test subject assumed the others were test subjects too, but they were actually in on the experiment.
In the experiment, the group was shown a set of cards like this one. The people are instructed to identify which line, A, B or C, matched the line on the other card. Each person gave their response out loud. Now here's the twist. After a few rounds, the other people in the room started deliberately giving the wrong answer. So if the correct answer was B, they might say A. Asch found that 75% of people went along with the rest of the group, and gave the wrong answer too. After the experiment, some people said they knew they were right, but felt uncomfortable going against the group.
Others said they became unsure about their selection, so they changed their response since they assumed the group was right. These people changed their behavior because of social pressure. Another experiment was conducted in the 1930's, that showed we can be influenced by others without even realizing it. Psychologist Muzafer Sherif devised an experiment that proved this. He put subjects in a darkened room. At one end of the room was a small light. Participants were asked to estimate how far they thought the light had travelled.
Now, the whole thing was an illusion, the light didn't travel at all. It's just a trick our eyes play on us when there's no point of reference. Sherif found that the estimates varied widely. It seems we all have different perceptions. But, a strange thing happened when he put a few people in the room at the same time. Suddenly, their estimates became very similar. Afterwards, participants said they had no idea they were being influenced by the other people sitting in the room with them. These experiments proved that social pressure can cause us to act differently than we normally would.
The good news is, it doesn't have to be negative. Positive social pressure can encourage us to do more. We can help create positive social pressure, by being a good role model. We can recognize and encourage positive contributions from others. And we can work to eliminate our own poor behaviors. Here's a great example. Most people would say they dislike workplace gossip. But I can't tell you how many times I've seen coworkers standing around talking about someone else they work with who gossips too much.
What they don't realize is by sharing negative stories about their coworker, they're gossiping too. We have to take responsibility for our own actions. Let's go back to Camille, the hotel associate I told you about earlier. She was very uncomfortable providing poor service to her guests. Unfortunately, she didn't feel she could change that hotel's negative culture, since it seemed to be supported by it's leaders. Camille eventually decided to leave, and go to work for another hotel. The new hotel had a culture that valued great service, and Camille soon felt right at home.
She found the culture to be the opposite of the old one, where people encouraged each other to provide great service to guests.
- Identifying the most important customer need
- Making wait time more bearable
- Improving your power of observation
- Avoiding directed attention fatigue
- Increasing teamwork