The Customers are Angry and Armed with Phones

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Remember when companies had slogans like “the customer always come first”? Or, “It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.” Something changed and we don’t hear that phrases like those much any more unless the slogan is embedded in a letter of apology to customers. Instead, the phrase of the day could be, Customers Are Pissed Off and Armed with Cell Phones.

Usually when one thinks of airline disasters the thought of crashes and life or death situations come to mind. But there were two recent airline disasters, both involved customers and are the best examples of what many believe to be the current state of customer service. Videos of the incidents went viral because we can all imagine ourselves being in the same customer service crisis.  But enough about the airlines, when it comes to customer service, they are easy targets. Something more pernicious has had an impact on customer relations.

Somewhere along the line the concept of judgment fell out of the customer service manual. It is the lack of judgment that is killing customer service and being caught on those videos. When it comes to customers, sometimes a little common sense and taking a real assessment of what is happening is more important than the rule. Employee manuals and policies are missing the mark when it comes to dealing with customers because the word judgment is missing.  The best employee manual I’ve ever seen is from Nordstrom. The rule is: “Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.” In the case of the airline fiascos, the policy was being followed but a little judgment on the part of the airlines would have made a world of difference.

Now we are all armed. We want to catch an employee following a rule that flaunts good judgment.  Go ahead we dare you. We know the damage that one cell phone video can do to a large organization   Every organization take heed. The real lesson in all the customer relationship issues today seems to be the lack of judgment exercised by employees. Lots of viral videos can be avoided if only judgment would interact with policy and rules.

Here are some examples of what the new customer service slogans could be:

  • Please Don’t Take a Video, I Am Following Company Policy
  • Customers Deserve Good Judgment, Not A Bad Policy
  • I May Get Fired, But the Customer is Right
  • Superior Customer Service Means We Break the Rules
  • Discretion and Dedication For Customers

What’s your customer service slogan?

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