Bust Out of Service Fatigue

Features - Operations

Revitalize before it’s too late. The What, Where, Why and How behind your decline in customer service excellence.

September 21, 2022

© Anton Dios | AdobeStock

Does it feel like no matter how hard you try to please your customer; it isn’t enough? Are you in charge of leading others and the faster you train teams and build energy, the quicker it seems to fade? Are you a business owner feeling hopeless about the never-ending needs of staff and customers while trying to achieve a profitable bottom line?

You’re exhausted, right?

This exhaustion is what’s called service fatigue, defined as the feeling that keeps you from delivering excellent customer service your patrons have come to expect. Left unchecked, this impacts your business in negative ways.

Let’s unpack the what, where, why, and how of service fatigue and get on the path to busting out of it.

What does Service Fatigue look like?

You know what customer service should look like. Attentive. Proactive. Genuine. Service fatigue is “less than,” and it presents in many forms. It’s when your client experiences less than what they – or you – expect. It’s a lack of energy, elevated stress, constant ambivalence, difficulty concentrating, missed deadlines, frequent mistakes, or safety compliance issues. The trickiest kind of fatigue to spot is the kind the team believes they can hide. It’s still there, lurking beneath the surface, threatening to bring everyone down.

Where does Service Fatigue come from?

After a stressful few years, various challenges have caused service fatigue levels to skyrocket. But the truth is, service fatigue strikes at any time, and much of it is nothing new. It’s short-tempered clients who escalate to anger quickly. It’s trying and failing to juggle multiple priorities and requests at once. It’s navigating ever-changing business policies. It’s responsibilities that outnumber hours in the day. It’s one bad attitude draining a team’s morale. Service fatigue stems from anywhere and identify it is half the battle.

Why does Service Fatigue matter?

The short answer: It matters because it impacts your bottom line. When service fatigue takes over your snow and ice management business, everything is at risk. If it’s possible, make work a welcoming, encouraging environment for your staff so they can give your clients a reason to crow about the snow and ice service your team is delivering. By recognizing service fatigue and equipping your team with the tools to bust out of its grip before it’s too late, you’ll ensure everyone’s experience is that much better.

How do we mitigate the effects of Service Fatigue?

There are many ways to bust out of service fatigue, and no two businesses will adopt the same solution. Decades of experience in the customer service industry prove there’s no silver bullet to overcoming exhaustion. Instead, it takes a combination of strategy, patience, and commitment to bolster your team and get them back on track to deliver the snow and ice management service customers expect.

Here are a few ways to start busting out of service fatigue as soon as today:

Build Better Boundaries

Professional boundaries are the single best tool to bust out of service fatigue, whether you need to put them in place with your boss or you need to ensure your team knows work/life separation is a good thing. Unless it’s imperative, do you really need to reply to emails at 8 p.m.? Is that gap or hiccup in a process at work really yours to lose sleep over?

We all can and should go above and beyond to deliver customer service excellence. But when you’re doing far more than is expected, you may be bringing service fatigue on yourself. Be honest: Are you guilty of your own boundary breakdowns? Are there honest conversations you can have to get those boundaries – and your energy levels – back on track?

Re-evaluate your boundaries today and find where you can firm them up. You’ll soon see what a difference they make in boosting you and your team's energy and positive attitude.

Grant Yourself Rest

Who doesn’t love rest? While some have mastered the art of taking breaks, Americans tend to do things fast – and often multitasking. We like the concept of rest, but the demands on our time often get in the way of our ability to truly take a break.

There are as many as seven types of rest, from physical and emotional to creative and spiritual. The truth is, they’re all important, and giving ourselves the space to breathe when things get stressful is imperative, especial when delivering winter services. Rest means putting down your phone an hour early and reading a professional develop or leadership book. Or use a time-out to perform a brief silent meditation so you’re prepared to head back to work.

When we prioritize rest and start to see it as doing good for ourselves, we are more energized to deliver customer service excellence.

A Hall of Fame keynote speaker and author, Laurie Guest, CSP, CPAE, is an authority on customer service excellence. She is the author of two books and is writing a third on the topic of service fatigue. To learn more or connect with Laurie, visit www.LaurieGuest.com