Can dealing with difficult customers really lead to self-destructive behavior for employees after working hours? a study published in applied Psychology It suggests that service workers who are abused by customers may engage in behaviors such as impulsive shopping and phone overuse.
Being treated poorly by customers is something that many people working in the service industry are all too familiar with. Misbehavior with customers has been shown to be related to poor work performance, high levels of withdrawal, and increased deviant behavior for employees. Despite this, not much research has been done on how these interactions affect employee behavior after work hours.
For their new study, Hui Zhang and colleagues used 57 employees of a call center in China who provided tax assistance via phone. Participants answered surveys online twice a day. Their afternoon survey measured customer misbehavior, decreased self-control, comfort and learning on the job, while their daily morning survey measured impulsive shopping, overeating behavior and mobile phone overuse. The morning survey asked about the behavior of the previous night.
Researchers found that employees who experienced abuse from customers experienced lower levels of self-control ability at the end of the day. This reduced capacity led to an increase in impulsive buying and overuse of mobile phones. This relationship was not shown for overeating behavior.
Employees who took time to rest did not show as strong an association between misbehavior with customers and loss of self-control that employees who were less exempt did, suggesting that relaxation may help reduce negative effects. has capacity.
This study took important steps to better understand the relationship between being abused by customers and participating in maladaptive behavior. Despite this, there are some limitations worth noting. One such limitation is that only people working in a call center in China were surveyed. Future research should include a more diverse sample with people from different countries and working in different service jobs. Additionally, this study relied on self-report for maladaptive behavior, which may be vulnerable to bias.
The researchers concluded, “The present study finds that daily experience of customer abuse at work predicts impulsive purchases and excessive use of mobile phones after work through loss of self-control ability.”
“Furthermore, the positive impact of a daily customer abuse experience on self-control ability loss is buffered by taking some time off for relaxation at work. These findings expand our understanding of how the daily experience of customer abuse affects the employee process. Beyond Self-regulation influences post-work maladaptive behavior through the harm process and highlights how recovery activities (at work relaxation) can help employees better deal with customer abuse . Experience.”
Study, “Too Little to Control Yourself? The Effects of Customer Abuse on Post-Work Malicious Behavior Through Impairment of Self-Control Ability”, Hui Zhang, Zhiqing E. Zhou, Yanjun Liu, Yanwei Shi and Jian Xiao.