Loose Lips Sink Ships

When you are getting ready to deliver twins, you find yourself spending a lot of time in health care facilities like doctor’s offices and hospitals. Last week, I spent in excess of seven hours between my doctor and the labor and delivery facility, which are luckily in the same building. I came in contact with dozens of people; nurses, porters, technicians, doctors and administrators. And here is what I experienced on two separate occasions that same day.


And I’m not talking about complaining about being tired or getting stuck in traffic. I’m talking about complaining about their jobs, their treatment, and their circumstances. In one case, it was overheard gossip. But it was 3 feet away from me while I was sitting in a hallway waiting for a technician to come and get me. There was a group (more than three people but not more than five) talking quite loudly, all of whom were griping about their hours, their bosses, you name it.


I have to say, I was pretty shocked. Ok—maybe shocked is too strong a word. But I was surprised. I would think that there would be a policy (written or unwritten) that bad mouthing your bosses to your customers/patients is kind of a no-no. And I have to admit it did not reflect well on the organization OR the individuals. And it did not leave me with a great feeling. Honestly, I think I was more disenchanted with the individual than the organization. But it got me thinking…

How do YOUR employees represent? Do they complain to your customers? And how would you know? And what would the damage be?

Consider this a heads up. A wake up call. Ask yourself, “Have I ever made it clear to all employees that venting to customers, even in cases where they feel they are so close to the person that they are really talking to a friend, is destructive?” And more importantly, do I give my employees a safe way to communicate their problems and concerns to ensure that this kind of inappropriate venting does not ever happen?

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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