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Seamless teamwork speed up recovery from negative situations

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Staff Writer | February 23, 2017
Collegial support is crucial when processing negative customer feedback, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.
Negative feedback
Negative feedback   Colleagues are more important than management
Seamless teamwork and good relations between colleagues speed up recovery from negative situations. Furthermore, the personal characteristics of people working in customer service play a role in how conflict situations are processed and recovered from.

Challenging service encounters are regarded as a cause of psychological loading; however, they are also seen as a normal part of the job.

The study analysed how persons working in customer service in hotels deal with negative customer feedback and what kind of support is available from the hotel management.

The study was a case study carried out in a hotel in Helsinki, Finland, and it shows that in most cases, hotel employees resolved service-related complaints on their own.

The study found that a lack of clear, written instructions increased employees’ uncertainty in processing customer feedback, and also caused conflicting practices in resolving service-related complaints.

On the other hand, employees who had worked at the hotel for a long time felt that the absence of written instructions was an indication of the management’s confidence in them.

In addition to work experience, also personal characteristics had an influence on how important instructions were considered.

“Because employees have different expectations and needs, written instructions could support them in using the powers assigned to them. At the same time, written instructions would make processes increasingly coherent and unified,” says Professor Raija Komppula.

Mangers should also talk with customer service employees about how they wish to use the powers assigned to them, and how much guidance and supervision they need. These are topics that should be addressed in performance reviews.

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