Archive | October, 2013

The lost art of saying – – – – “YES” to your customers

10 Oct

There’s a continuum of customer service – most small firms start out very accommodating to their clients – by necessity of course!

Then, somewhere along the way…there’s a fork in the road.

For good reasons…

(in areas of safety, compliance, and logistics)

– larger companies MUST formalize systems and procedures to make sure results are uniform throughout the company –

This is appropriate and necessary….


BUT – can a large organization still maintain that flexibility that won them the market share in the first place?

The secret lies in trusting and empowering your FRONT LINE people to do what makes sense…

in essence…to say yes to clients when there’s nothing tangible to lose!


How many times have you been standing at the desk next to a half full plane…asking nicely if you can grab the earlier flight?

And been told…nope…it’s $250 for a “change fee”.


Now…you know the 1 hour later flight is overbooked.

the gate agent knows the next flight is overbooked.

and you BOTH know that a plane to the same place is about to leave with 100 empty seats.

The solution seems clear, doesn’t it?

But not in modern American business –

more and more the FRONT LINES are not empowered to help their clients.

Instead they are “handcuffed” from making easy decisions in an effort to squeeze out profit (a good thing)

and/or protect the value of the product (another good thing).


How do we sort this out?

It’s America…everyone should be entitled to make every dollar, right?  So we need to find ways to CHARGE CUSTOMERS for things, right? are these “handcuffed” situations making your CUSTOMERS feel?


Let me ask you a question…

How do you feel when you’re on the phone with a package delivery company –
and there’s a mix up on an address to where you shipped a package…and somewhere out there…a carrier has the wrong suite number..and you and the agent on the phone have the right one…
but the agent on the phone just can’t seem to get that info to the “delivery station” and so the package will need to be routed all the way back to you, the sender…
Of course there’s a human solution (call the local manager!) – but the “system” creates efficiences and so the front line team is bound to it from above, they explain.  What you are asking they are now empowered to do…
In other words – the fact that this problem is important to YOU does not register to them.  Would you like to have it returned to you?  Or would you like to be transferred to our sales team who can explain that your contract you signed doesn’t include these kind of corrections….those are your 2 choices!  🙂

HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL as a customer?  Important?  Or a slave to the “system”?

About the same way you feel, I’ll bet,  when watching the empty plane leave without you…so you can wait for the jam packed one later…

Kind of asking yourself “why?” and feeling….FRUSTRATED.


Companies that excel find a WAY to YES…when they are able.

They EMPOWER their front line customer service team to say YES and don’t punish them for making intelligent actions for customers.


Reality check:

how is YOUR company’s customer service?

Do you often SCOLD your front line team to “follow procedure”  “reduce comps” or “Tell them no” or say something really frustration provoking to your clients….the dreaded “that’s our policy”.   Ugh.


If so..that kind of inflexibility…even in situations that ANYONE would say “it’s logical to say yes” really annoys your customers!


EMPOWER THAT front line team to make the experience better for your customers!

It’s one of those “little things” that are hard to measure…but lead to a strong balance sheet in the long run.

You heard it here first!   Now get out there and TAKE CARE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS and make it a great week!