As a customer service consultant I see things across many companies that most companies don’t see while working inside the company.
o Company Policy
One of the biggest problems is “company policy.” Many company policies are structured to protect the company from the customer instead of helping the customer get what he wants and has paid for. Your success will explode when your company, and your employees are structured with the customers’ wants and needs in mind.
As a customer how many times have you been talking with a sales person, or a customer service rep and hear “sorry we can’t do that, company policy.” A barrier was thrown up between what you think is only reasonable and the company. For me, I’m out of there.
Is the problem “company policy” or is it the employee? It can go either way. Often employees are trying hard to do the job the way they understand it, which can often be that they are there to protect the company from the customer trying to take advantage. That isn’t saying that employee is a “bad” employee. Only that he doesn’t understand what he should be doing. That’s where proper employee training comes in.
o Employee Responsibility
It is the job of the people in your company that are in direct contact with the customers
To discover and understand what the customer really wants, and
Deliver what the customer really wants
When your employee says “can’t…company policy” he has put a barrier up between the customer and you. The customer can no longer get what he wants, at least not from your company.
o Executive or Owner View
I know…I know…I’m hearing the roar from the executive peanut gallery…You’ve got to make a profit. Well, let me make something clear hear…you aren’t going to make a profit, or at least not as much profit if you aren’t satisfying the customer. So, what I’m saying is to teach your people how to listen to the customer. Change their perspective from “protecting the company from the stupid customer” to one of ALWAYS finding a way to help the customer get what he wants.
o Employee Listening to Customer…Communicating Needs to Company
Your employee should be the conduit through the maze of company policies. He knows what the customer needs, he knows what the company policies are, and his job is to take that customer through those company policies to get the customer where he wants to be. He isn’t a policeman stopping the customer at the gate. That hampers the customer. The first helps the customer.
o When Company Policy IS the Barrier
What happens if the company policy truly is a barrier? Then the employee should be the conduit to the company policy setters to help them understand how the company as a whole can better serve the customer by changing company policy.
I am in no way saying, “don’t make a profit.” But when company policy is set up to protect the company from the customer instead of helping the customer your profits will decline. A customer usually only wants what is reasonable.
The solution to company policy barrier: Make sure that your employees are empowered
o To solve the customer problem
o To communicate to the company how the company policy can improve the customer satisfaction instead of impede it.