Bad service, left unchecked, can drive customers away from your small business, because consumers associate your employees' attitudes with your business. If service is great, people think you run a wonderful business; if service is slow or sloppy, they think you’re to blame. You can fix bad service by identifying it, confronting it and replacing it with superior, customer-focused approaches.

Ignoring the Customer

Employees who fail to acknowledge customers when they enter your business have a bad attitude. This can be a receptionist who doesn’t make eye contact or greet the customer or a fast food cashier who simply waits for the customer to order without prompting. It might also be workers who stand around talking with fellow employees, taking personal phone calls while the customer waits or not bothering to assist a customer who is wandering around the store looking lost or confused.

Being Nonresponsive

If a customer is asking your employee questions, and the employee responds with noncommittal or vague responses, that’s a sign of a bad service attitude. Responding with the phrase “I don’t know” is also a sign of poor service. Employees should either know the answers to common customer queries or be eager to find someone who does.

Acting Uninterested or Complaining

Employees who appear bored or bothered by requests from customers are exhibiting poor service attitudes. An example is a waitress who sighs and rolls her eyes when asked for a drink refill or a worker who gripes about how long he has worked or how anxious he is to finish his shift. These actions make the customer fell like a burden on the business.

Making Little Effort

Doing as little as possible is an example of a bad service attitude. This can be seen in employees who do only what they are instructed to do without taking initiative. If a retail clothing store clerk is asked to help a customer to the dressing room, she should be willing to check on the customer to see if she needs a different size or style and to remove unwanted items. An employee with a bad service attitude leaves the customer to fend for herself.

Putting Customers Last

An employee who places her own needs ahead of the customer’s needs has poor service behavior. An example is an employee who watches a colleague struggle to check out a dozen customers without opening his own register because he is on a break or hasn't started his shift. Another example is an employee who doesn't take steps to point a lost customer in the right direction, claiming, “It’s not my department.”