Should anyone ever have to ask for manager approval for customer satisfaction? In my opinion, no. Have you ever been to a local retail store or restaurant and had a bad experience? Then the employee offers you a discount for that inconvenience, but first he has to get manager approval? Why is this? Why are employees trained in a way that anything above their job has to have approval?
One of my first jobs was as a repair technician in a local IT shop. During one of the slow days I decided to organize the front of the office and make it more appealing, it is the first thing a customer sees when they come in the shop. While I was doing this the boss came in and asked what I was doing. I said “Well it’s a slow day, so I thought I would just organize things a bit.” His reply….”I don’t pay you to think”. Why was that his response? Why wouldn’t he have said, good thinking or thanks for not just sitting around wasting time? If I see something that needs to be done, should I really have to ask for permission? Needless to say I felt I didn’t need to stay in that job much longer and found an IT consulting position.
Sadly, it is this type of management that I think leaks into the corporate world. Instead of breeding a culture where your employees actively look for ways to improve the customer experience, they just sit around doing only what they are paid to do. As an employee you should be given the freedom to resolve customer issues or look for ways to improve the business. Look, I am not saying that every time a customer complains you need to offer them a discount or something for free or do you need to spend time trying to re-invent the wheel by criticizing every procedure your company has. These actions require common sense, and unfortunately that is not something that can be taught. As an employee you should be focusing on customer service instead of searching for manager approval.
What are your thoughts?