If there is conflict going on within your organization that is not being managed effectively, then I can guarantee you that this conflict is losing you customers – whether you realize it or not.
You may think that the conflict is going on behind closed doors. That since nobody knows about it, it can’t possibly be impacting customer satisfaction.
But here’s the thing. When unresolved conflict is brewing within your organization, it permeates employees’ lives. The weight of the conflict begins to impact how they interact with others. And if you don’t do what is needed to address this conflict, then it will trickle all the way down to customer service and it WILL affect your bottom line.
Let me share a very simple example that I’ve observed recently in my own life.
I’ve been a member of the same gym for close to eight years. During this time period, the gym underwent a change of management. Little by little, I started to notice some changes. Small things, at first. And then, I started to noticed that the turnover rate of teachers was much higher than it had been under the previous management.
At this point in time, I had no awareness whatsoever of the internal conflict going on, despite being in that building 3-5 times/week. But I was already less satisfied with the revolving teachers. You build a relationship with someone, you learn to like them… and then… they’re gone.
What happens when this is your team of customer service representatives? Or your sales team? Or really, anyone who has a client-facing role in your organization?
It was already taking more effort to feel committed and engaged because the strong relationship that had once held my commitment was gone.
And yet, I persisted. I mean, I’d been there for years. The quality of the classes was still great and I’d developed friendships with many of the other customers.
And then… I started to notice a big turnover in customers.
With both my teachers and fellow attendees disappearing, it became increasingly apparent that there was something going on behind the scenes that. Even though I still couldn’t tangibly put my finger on what exactly that was.
Soon enough, however, some of the teachers started complaining about management. When people don’t feel heard by the person who is signing their paycheque, they end up finding someone else who will listen. And in this case, it was the customers.
Locker room talk turned to the customers complaining. What had once been my haven to de-stress had become a toxic environment, far from the relaxing yoga-esque pictures that you saw in their advertising.
I decided to address the situation with management. Because I had once loved this gym.
And yet, nothing changed.
After a few more weeks of being surrounded with this constant toxic chit-chat, I decided to change gyms. I had pre-paid nine months and still chose to walk away, knowing that I wasn’t eligible for a reimbursement. The internal conflict was impacting my user experience. And it was not at all what I had signed up for.
As it turns out, when I walked into my first class at my new gym, not only was it a teacher from my old gym, but 25% of the attendees were also from my old gym.
If you think that internal conflict doesn’t cause you to lose customers, then think again. The impact of the conflict at my old gym was being felt before any of us even knew what was going on. And over time, it led to a huge decrease in customer satisfaction and to very significant turnover both on a staffing and customer level.
Which costs less? Taking the time to learn how to manage conflict more effectively or finding and training new employees while also enticing new customers all of the time?
The decision is yours to make.
And if you find yourself needing some support within your organization on how to manage conflict more effectively, give me a call. Together, can explore the root cause of the conflict your team is experiencing and what we can do to kick it to the curb for good.
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