July 12, 2012
The clerk said, “Oh, then I guess it was my fault.” The customer replied, “No problem. Just give me the twenty cents and I’ll be on my way.” The clerk said, “I’m not allowed to do that. You’ll have to go to the customer service desk to get your money.” The customer replied, “You must be kidding. You mean I have to walk to the other side of the store and stand in line to get the twenty cents I’m owed as a result of your mistake?” About this time, the young clerk noticed that other customers were glaring at him. He reached in his drawer, handed the woman two dimes and said, “I guess I’ll just deal with it later.”My son said to him, “You’re lucky you did that or my mom will write about you in her newsletter!” I’d be willing to bet that you have had a similar experience. This is the kind of thing that happens when employees are not given the power to do the right thing for their customers. Forget the mission statement and start focusing on empowerment-not just the concept, but letting your employees take charge. They can only do this with sufficient training.Yesterday I observed a customer interaction in the checkout line at a grocery store that drove me crazy. The clerk told an elderly woman she had written her check for twenty cents more than the amount due. The woman informed him that it was the amount on the receipt.