The contrast between organizations where employees are engaged, happy to be there and happy to serve and organizations where the employees are going through the motions is clearly and painfully visible to all of us. This latter organization where customers are an inconvenience, reflects a wholesale failure on the part of leadership. 

I confess to not understanding the management and leadership thinking that leads to the many unpleasant or at best, sterile experiences with retailers, health care providers and so many others types of organizations. It’s almost as if someone is in charge of ensuring a level of engagement with employees that is somewhere just north of rude and way south of pleasant.

The True Policies Behind Lousy Customer Experiences

Under no circumstances should our employees make customers feel welcome. Avoid eye contact, move the other way if you see a lost or confused customer and above all, don’t smile. Failure to comply will be met with severe repercussions.  

Your services as a nurse are too valuable to allow you to focus on any one patient at a time. You will be spread thin enough to ensure only fleeting contact with your patients. And to minimize any possibility of you lingering too long, you will be armed at all times with several beeping and blinking communications devices that will buzz, ring and yell simultaneously. In the interest of productivity, we encourage you to be always talking to a doctor about a patient while you are treating yet another patient.

We only hire individuals capable of maintaining an “I don’t give a shit” demeanor for long periods of time. Your expression must discourage engagement and if your job involves moving around our facility, we prefer those who shuffle slowly but maintain that angry look. It’s preferable if these employees mumble and avoid eye contact if they are cornered by customers.

Construction is Booming in The Inferno

In prior posts, I’ve relegated various industry executives to some updated levels in Dante’s Inferno.  Thus far in my writings, Dante and Virgil have added destinations for their stroll that include most airline executives, anyone who ever created an off-shore customer service support center, and a truly special place for those involved in creating pricing policies for cell phone service, cable, internet and satellite radio services.

And of course, there’s the new Enron Wing and Madoff Center for executives and politicians who allowed ethical lapses to destroy value and bilk shareholders and cheat constituents. The reservations are piling up in this latest addition. Former governors of Illinois and top BP executives are practically ensured of admission!

It’s now time to add a special Customer Service Pavillion in the Inferno. This proposed addition is for any leader of any organization where zombie-like customer engagement and support is practiced to near perfection.  Bids are being taken on the punishment to be doled out, although there’s a hue and cry for the karma train to pay a visit in the form of an eternity of being served and treated in the manner they so successfully achieved while on Terra Firma. Seems fitting.

This blog originally appeared at

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