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Being rude is poor service, but so is the “attitude of indifference”. If you have ever been treated by an employee who doesn’t seem to care, the behaviors are very obvious:

– Avoidance of eye contact
– Continuing to do whatever they are doing
– Sighs of annoyance or rolling of the eyes
– Slouching body language
– Bored, monotone voice
– No offer of additional advice if they can’t answer or help you

These behaviors could be indicative of a larger problem; such as, the employee is not happy with his supervisor or the business and is showing it through this passive aggressive behavior. Or, it could be the employee was never trained to understand how her facial expressions, voice tone, and body posture can convey the wrong message. In either case, it is management’s responsibility to call out the behaviors, address them, train if needed, and follow up to ensure they have been changed. This means management must be regularly walking through their organizations to see what their customers are seeing.

It is quickly apparent to me no matter if I am in a retail store, doctor’s office, university campus, grocery store, or other place, what is the manager’s style. Do they have desk lock where they are always finding ways to stay in the office and be busy at their desk, or do they practice MBWA (Management by Wandering Around)? When you are wandering, you are stopping and talking to employees and customers. You are building relationships with both and being visible. This is what it takes to purge the “attitude of indifference”.

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