Sad Stories Are Bad Business

Business stories aren’t just stories. They’re the underpinnings of company culture and policy; powerful, and possibly dangerous.

Consider this: If customer service representatives get together for morning coffee and swap stories about annoying customers, the level of customer service will go down. It’s unavoidable. If the people behind the counter at the coffee shop share annoying customer stories behind the scenes, they smile less. They like the customers less.

No, I don’t have the research to prove it. But it’s true.

The owners and managers of a business need to realize their stories set tones and themes for the business.

My wife said my extreme customer service post here Monday encourages anti-customer stories. She has a good point.

This is easy to explain in parent mode, and from there it’s an easy hop to business mode.

  • Let’s assume that when you were a teenage driver your dad insisted he’d always been a careful driver. All dads do. But you drove too fast as a teenager, despite your dad’s warning.
  • What if your dad just winked and said “don’t worry about it, I drove like a maniac as a kid. I got lots of speeding tickets.” You would have driven even faster, right? It’s OK because dad did it.

The same thing happens with your business. Don’t swap stories about the annoying customers. Talk about the good ones.


  • Articles Worth Reading | says:

    […] Sad Stories Are Bad Business, by Tim Berry – Don’t let the bad stories spread through your business. Instead, focus on the positive. […]

  • Team The Rise To The Top says:

    Great tips, it’s only a matter of time before your bad gossip habit leaks to the wrong people and you could have a major business problem on your hands, lacking credibility and friendly customer service.

  • Strategic Growth Advisors says:

    Thanks, Tim. This is an insightful post all business players can easily relate to.

    What makes sales and marketing very challenging is your constant bouts with obstacles like annoying customers, botched negotiation deals and other factors that can make your day turn sour.

    However, it is up to the sales representative or salesperson how to look at a certain customer, event or situation and make something good out of it.

    Keep those articles coming!

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