Sleepworkers! They are everywhere. They are annoying and they seem to make the whole company doze off.
They answer the phone as if I’ve woken up a zombie.
They stand or sit behind the counter while working the cash register and communicate like an automaton: “Did – you – find – everything – OK?” “Have – a - nice – day.”
They work with all the enthusiasm, personality and humor of a gas pump – they get the job done with the very minimum expenditure of energy. No smile, no sense of being helpful, no curiosity, no enthusiasm, no human qualities. Brain dead yet walking the earth and somehow pulling down a paycheck while annoying customers.
So I’ve been on a personal mission to wake up these sleepworkers by answering their questions literally while waiting to see their reaction. If I hear: “Did – you – find – everything – OK?” I say, “No.”
In all, 50 percent of the time I get no reaction; 45 percent of the time I get a shrug; 5 percent of them wake up and ask what I was looking for.
If I hear, “What’s your Social” I pretend I didn’t know they were asking for my Social Security Number and respond, “Are you asking me to a social event?”
Now, I’m not often a wiseguy. I know many of these people have dull, boring jobs, and their managers, supervisors, bosses insist on insuring they ask these mind-numbing questions as part of their job and can’t think of any way to add a sense of humanity to their task. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be alive for the time they are at work.
More importantly, what can their managers do to inject some life into the sleepworker’s jobs to bring them back from the undead? Injecting some personality, fun and enthusiasm into their efforts has to bring a better experience to their customers.
I’ll bet a little pep talk, some stretch goals, and creative change in drudge tasks will wake them up, make them think a little about making their customers think better of the company.
Wake them up; they can sleep on their own time.