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5 Ways Your Company Policies Are Ruining Customer Service

A focus on excellent customer service is a win-win: the customer becomes a loyal fan AND the employee feels good about doing his job.

What corporate policies are standing in the way of great customer service?

Rigid rules
You know how frustrating it is if you've ever been on the receiving end of this line: “Sorry, that’s against company policy” or “I just can’t do that.” Maybe it’s something small, but the employee isn’t allowed to make the call and has to go by the book, even if it means losing the customer. This is a major roadblock to great customer service, and it makes the employee feel powerless.

Top-down command 
Leadership adheres to a management style based on command/control rather than servant leadership, which bring out the best in employees through coaching, mentoring, encouraging self-expression and building a sense of community and joint ownership (Servant Leadership is a popular leadership model developed by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970).  Think of it as coaching versus bossing. Command/control leadership style exists in a paternalistic structure and does not empower employees to best serve the customer. 

Stuck with the time clock
The measure of success in companies having issues with customer service is governed by the adherence to or focus on the traditional workweek ruled by a time-clock. We love some of the new ways companies, like Amazon, are providing easy, round-the-clock help through online chat, email, and social media.

Departmentally oriented
Employees are siloed in their own departments, unsure what is going on in other areas of the organization. This tends to be an “every man/department for himself” type of work environment. When workers are oriented organizationally, they are free to work across boundaries, and are encouraged to share and develop ideas outside of departmental structures. Everyone is working toward a clear, common outcome

Putting in hours and moving “up”
Motivation is driven by being present, putting in hours, looking like a hard worker, and climbing the ladder. Customer happiness is in peril when corporate policies reward presenteeism, rather than achieving outcomes and focusing on results.

Are your written mission statements and company values at odds with your day to day corporate policies and culture? Are you creating a working environment that focuses on customer service and employee satisfaction? Chances are, if you ask your employees you might be surprised at the answer.