Customer Service @ Xmas

Yesterday I found myself having a very interesting conversation with Mick Hull from VoxPro Communications. I was in their company headquarters in Cork for a conversation about social media... Twitter, Blogging, Facebook and the like...

Frustrations shared... We started swapping stories about the frustrations we'd had leading up to Christmas.  I told him about one infuriating experience I'd had.  He told me one of his.  [Actually his was an epic, and I admired how he'd kept his cool throughout.]

One story set off another.  We found we'd had a series of awfully distracting, time-consuming experiences - while try to buy things from businesses.

Source of the problem... What emerged in the conversation was the shared realisation one key component.  The staff who dealt with us were not empowered to sort things out.  They had to refer to a manager, who wasn't there.  They had a policy or procedure that prevented them for satisfying the customer.

The poor old member of staff was constrained.  Prevented from taking action that Mick or I would have taken - if it had been our business.

Business leaders... Disempowered staff are losing you business.  If only your staff could act to make the deal happen, your turnover would be up.

Leaders disempower their staff.  Whenever a front-line customer service person doesn't do what's needed, it's down to the owner/leader of the business.

I found myself saying "many businesses deserve to fail - they are badly led.  I feel sorry for the staff."

Empowerment is a buzz word.  A cliche.  I can't think of a better word now.

Leaders beware...  Customers notice. If you have a connected story to share, please leave a comment.  We'd love to hear it.