When you receive poor service, there is a chance you may find printed and framed copies of the company’s admirable values on the walls.

But do they act in accordance with their values?

Batho Pele [People First] is a slogan often used by organisations, yet if you call them 10 minutes before they close, they won’t answer the phone. That’s a great indicator of what they value most.

When the doctor’s receptionist ignores your arrival and taps away on her computer while chatting with coworkers, you know she’s been taught to prioritise efficiency.

When a beauty therapist pushes you to buy an expensive aftercare product you don’t need to make her commission target, you know what she’s been trained to do.

When a company’s call centre answers your call based on an algorithm, not the time you phoned, it shows their opinions about what’s right and fair.

It is clear from your actions, rather than from what you say, what is most important to you.

Although it is possible to conceal one’s behaviour for a short time behind various explanations, it is important to remember that one’s actions speak far louder than words.

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