Over the past year, as the world’s reaction to the COVID Pandemic evolved (or devolved), I noticed a slow but steady decrease in customer service across many of the industries I interface with.

This reminds me of the story about putting a frog in a pot of cold water and raising the temperature one degree at a time. Before the frog realizes it, without even trying to jump out, it is cooked!

Now the frog is NOT the customer. Believe me, they also notice that many businesses are not treating them very well. Most people I talk to have encountered increasing rudeness and poor attitude. Plus they feel businesses make more mistakes than before as many employees don’t seem to care that much.

The frogs in this story are businesses that are becoming lax, not monitoring what employees say or do with regard to customer care. This of course isn’t true with all businesses. In fact, those that purposely make sure their service is more stellar than ever shine bright among the many companies whose light seems to have gone out.

“Frog” companies seem to just be going through the motions, and in some cases treat customer interactions more as nuisances than opportunities to win customers for life.

Why Is This Happening?

I believe one reason for lackluster customer service is the movement from working in an office environment, where people are more accountable for their actions, to a work-at-home environment where things can easily become a little too relaxed.

frog in hot water
Don’t be this guy. Be that contractor whose service stands out and solves customer issues with a good attitude, great service, and superior outcomes.

I’ve personally experienced annoying interactions with support personnel and salespeople working from home where they seem to almost be bothered by answering the phone. Conversations are often interrupted by children playing, dogs barking, the UPS guy at the door, and so forth.

What’s worse is they usually don’t apologize for the disruption. They assume you understand since everyone is working from home.
Since when is it the customer’s job to be understanding? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? In the past year, I could probably identify at least 15 or 20 such annoying interactions. And if I can, I’m sure if you think about it, you can too.

An Opportunity

This creates an opportunity for our industry and your company. Kick things up a notch by making sure your people haven’t fallen into the frog syndrome. Make sure they deliver excellence in everything they do and your company will stand out.

In fact, we should all see this decline as a chance to take a hard look at our organizations. Has frog syndrome crept into your business, one degree at a time? Take a step back and look at how your employees interact with customers on the phone and in person. Is it time to initiate new customer service training?

The other day I heard someone use the term “Pandemic Fog,” comparing it to a “fog of war” feeling. Many have experienced a sort of memory lapse on how we did things prior to the pandemic.

At National Comfort Institute (NCI), as we return to in-person training, our team is dusting off and relearning how we did things before the pandemic. It’s been an eye-opening experience!

Even though most HVAC contracting businesses continued working throughout the pandemic, it still might be worth taking time to evaluate and give your team a customer service tune-up. This way you can make sure they’re providing the best possible customer experience.

Such a “tune-up” is an excellent investment. Without a doubtit will make you a standout in your marketplace during these changing and uncertain times.