Language barriers result in unsatisfactory service
to the customer. In a previous section of this chapter,
There are times when you will make mistakes at
we described the meaning of communication. It
the contact point while handling a customer's needs.
involves a sender and a receiver and a message that is
These mistakes are normally a result of your negative
attitude toward the customer, the customer's problem,
understanding or distraction) that garbles the message
the Navy, or your job. This section describes these
becomes a barrier between the sender and receiver. In
this case, the receiver should ask for a repeat or
explanation. Misunderstood information may be
Leaping to a conclusion means that, in your
worse than no information. It can result in
opinion, you already have enough facts upon which to
disappointment, frustration, missed opportunities, or
base a judgment. As a result, you may ignore
improper actions by the receiver. Following are some
additional information provided by the customer. This
tendency is often caused by a lack of concern for the
· The customer was vague about the particulars of
customer and the desire to end the contact as quickly as
possible. This may also occur because you have a
better knowledge of the supply field than your
· The SK used unfamiliar terms, acronyms, or
customer. You may assume that you know the
c u s t o m e r 's n e e d s b e f o r e t h ey a r e c o m p l e t e l y
· Because the SK understood the subject so well, it
expressed. Jumping to conclusions often leads to
was not explained as thoroughly as it should
misunderstandings. As a result, you may not provide
correct service to the customer.
· The SKs attitude inferred that the customer and
Negative personal reactions may also occur
the problem are not important.
towards the customer. You may exhibit adverse
reactions to the person as a result of his/her
· Other problems were bothering the customer.
appearance, speech, or attitude. Because of these
· The customer felt rushed.
reactions, you may be unable to provide the quality
service that the customer needs or deserves. Attitude is
probably the easiest cause of adverse reaction to
ability to provide correct information.
identify. When the customer is overbearing, cynical,
Since you serve as the single point of contact to
or a smart aleck, it is difficult to maintain a professional
provide supply support and services, the customers
manner. But you have to be professional to overcome
have no other place to go for answers. You should
the negative attitude and provide the needed service.
ensure that the customer understands the message.
Personal reactions may be mild and caused by
Language barriers also exist with the contact point
unconcern or lack of interest, but can be deadly to
representative. Wherever the barriers exist, you should
customer satisfaction. Everyone possesses a feeling of
make a conscious effort to eliminate them or to
self-worth. If you deny this worth by showing a lack of
compensate for them. To compensate, you should
concern or interest, the customer may show the same
speak slowly and give listener time to follow and
attitudes toward the department and supply personnel
interpret what was said or to ask questions. There are
as a defense. Your attitude toward the customer must
several types of language barriers that interfere with
not be influenced by opinions formed as a result of the
customer's previous acts or attitudes.
physical, some are habit, and some are intended to
Stereotyping is forming a standardized,
confuse. Cultural and physical barriers are the most
oversimplified mental picture of members of a group.
difficult for the speaker to overcome. An individual for
A fixed or general pattern is attributed to all members
whom English is a second language often has difficulty
of the group, disregarding individual, distinguishing
with pronunciation, meaning, and sentence structure.
qualities or characteristics. This implies that the
Speech impediments also cause misunderstandings.
person is no different from anybody else in the same
Some speech habits that interfere with understanding
group or category. This in itself is bad enough. But it is
are slurred pronunciation, running words together,
even more offensive when the person is placed in a
speaking too fast, exaggerated drawl or brogue, and
category that you regard as "inferior," and then reflect
profanity. When a customer with one of these speech
this opinion by your attitude.
defects comes for service, concentrate on WHAT is