Shoppers really hate rudeness, even if it isn’t directed at them, reveals a not-so-shocking study in the Journal of Service Research.So when the manager at Gap reams out the guy folding T-shirts, for example, the customer’s evaluation of that store goes downhill.
Even worse, a desire to “get back” at the Gap may take root, resoling in nasty online gossip and/or quitting the store altogether–although sometimes that can be a good thing.
“Regardless of the perpetrator or the reason, witnessing incivility scalds customer relationships and depletes the bottom line,” write authors Christine Porath (Georgetown University), Debbie MacInnis and Valerie S. Folkes (University of Southern California).
Of the 244 consumers surveyed, approximately one-third reported witnessing “employee incivility” an average of once a month, mostly in restaurants and retail stores. Customers seldom report such awkward moments, but aren’t afraid to spread the word on Internet blogs and review sites like Yelp.
To keep their shoppers from turning against them, the researchers recommend issuing a simple apology and creating programs to foster “proper civility.” In other words, don’t be rude.
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