Customer Experience News & Trends

4 signs a bad customer service employee won’t improve (and needs to be shown the door)

Most under-performing employees get better before customer satisfaction gets worse. But there are a few who will never improve. This is how to identify and get rid of them.

Don’t get us wrong: They aren’t bad people. They just aren’t good at delivering a great customer experience at your organization.

So the sooner can you identify that they will never get better — within your company, at least — it’s better for both of you. The poor performer can get right to pursuing a position that fits his or her abilities and personality best — and you can maintain service levels with the right people working on the front line.

Know when to let go

This is how you’ll know there’s no hope a customer service rep will ever perform up to snuff:

  • Promises are broken. Good employees promise to change when their shortcomings come to light — and follow an action plan. Reps who promise and take no action — especially when it’s laid out for them — will not get better. They lack a commitment to change.
  • Excuses are made. Instead of changing, the worst reps make excuses why they can’t follow through. That often leads to pleads for second and third chances.
  • Blame is shifted. The excuses get deeper at some point, and poor performers will claim that it’s not their fault that things haven’t gotten better. In fact, it’s probably your fault (or so they’ll claim). They’ll say you haven’t given them enough time or resources. Or they’ll blame colleagues who have undermined them.
  • They ask for acceptance. If you continue to employ poor performers who don’t t try to improve, they’ll likely tell you to accept them for who they are. They might say, “This is just the way I’ve always been” or “I am what I am,” trying to absolve themselves of responsibility for change.

What to do

Ideally, you need to let these kinds of customer service employees go. Their sub-par performance jeopardizes customer relationships.

To fire without fear of legal action, document poor performance over time and any instances of behavior that is dangerous, not acceptable or inappropriate for your workplace. Have employees sign off on those documents so there’s never any question of where an adverse employment action comes from.

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