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Topic # 198883 26-Jul-2016 22:07
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A general question to all who may work in the many various service industries that involve so many aspects of our everyday lives.

 

Do you feel that you are allowed to take "ownership" of customer problems and/or potential solutions that you may encounter in your role as an employee responding to a requested task?

 

If the answer is "No", the next obvious question is "why do you think that is and why, if you could change it, would you"?

 

If the answer is "Yes", does that make you feel that you belong to a team that could have influence on your employers long term direction, but is still inhibited by your superiors influence or lack of participation? 

 

If the answer is "Yes and I am allowed to take ownership of this with the full backing and support of my employer". What makes them so special?

 

Other questions that spring to mind are "If you feel that you are not paid enough why would you take ownership?" or, "If you feel that you are well paid, why would you rock the boat?". But those are for another topic I feel. Your thoughts would be appreciated.


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  Reply # 1599339 27-Jul-2016 07:44
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I'm not really answering the question but as somebody who visits the US normally 2-3 times a year one thing I really appreciate is the customer service experience over there compared to NZ. It's not perfect everywhere and there are also reasons for people being helpful and friendly with some being good and some being bad - some people simply want tips, others are simply scared of being sacked if there is negative feedback about them. Overall however I'd class an average day of interactions as being light years ahead compared to a similar day in NZ.

 

I think it's safe to say NZers don't complain a lot compared to many other nationalities. I think a lot more focus is put on keeping customers happy in the US and I've found my dealings with phone CSR's and real life people such as hotel or retail staff to be very different and many front line staff who will take ownership of an issue and deal with it. Complain in NZ and the immediate response from so many companies and people is to feel they're on the back foot and launch an attack.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1599350 27-Jul-2016 08:25
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When I asked customers why they didn't complain about how other staff were treating them at a former employer I had, it came down to 2 things, 1, they didn't want to get the person in trouble, and 2, they didn't want repercussions from the complaint as changing supplier for the service was a considerable hassle. Concern that if they complained about not getting called back etc that they would find their jobs go to the bottom of the pile etc.





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  Reply # 1599356 27-Jul-2016 08:33
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Poor management is what I'd attribute it to.

 

Crappy service is not universal - in the same market you'll get businesses with extremely good customer service and other businesses with extremely poor customer service. I don't think it's a "NZ culture" thing, but often a "corporate culture" thing.  Usually a failure of leadership by management manifested in various ways: not recognising that customer relationships are crucial in competitive business, that everybody should be customer focused - not just people with sales/service in their job title, that without creating viable pathways or rewards (ie to front-line staff) then it's all stick-no carrot, and a "have a nice day" comment, a forced smile, or a pledge to "solve the customer's problem" is completely hollow when offered under threat.  Also that if management has failed to instil the importance of the customer through all departments, you'll get for example (and typically) IT or administration staff treating customers as a nuisance - resulting in division between front-line and back-room staff.  It falls apart.


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  Reply # 1599362 27-Jul-2016 09:02
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As an IT person, I see IT as a service provided to the business. So I have internal customers... other workers within our organisation.

 

It is a continual pain that I have to work around gatekeepers and committees to get stuff done that makes a huge improvement to the lives and productivity of actual coal-face workers.

 

So, whilst I am the person who will do the work, there are numerous other people who all *want* to have ownership of problems, as much so that they can play power games to exert control and influence over others as anything else. Yes, I would change this if I could. But it's a bureaucracy steeped in a tradition of change-averse butt-covering.

 

So I do what I can for 8 hours, and then I go home and enjoy spending my pay.

 

Like @Fred99, I attribute it to poor management.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1599402 27-Jul-2016 10:19
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I guess a corollary question would be if there is anything special about the NZ business environment that offers companies with bad management/policies a degree of protection from customer rage. Does behaviour that would make a company go under in the USA squeak through here?

 

 





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  Reply # 1599404 27-Jul-2016 10:31
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frankv:

 

As an IT person, I see IT as a service provided to the business. So I have internal customers... other workers within our organisation.

 

It is a continual pain that I have to work around gatekeepers and committees to get stuff done that makes a huge improvement to the lives and productivity of actual coal-face workers.

 

So, whilst I am the person who will do the work, there are numerous other people who all *want* to have ownership of problems, as much so that they can play power games to exert control and influence over others as anything else. Yes, I would change this if I could. But it's a bureaucracy steeped in a tradition of change-averse butt-covering.

 

So I do what I can for 8 hours, and then I go home and enjoy spending my pay.

 

Like @Fred99, I attribute it to poor management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe and hammered home to my teams that IT was not just a service to the business, co-workers and internal customers but a service to the very end users and most importantly the end users/customers of the business.

 

This was especially so in my last role where the performance of IT had very real and very serious real life implications. 

 

My fault customer impact categories reflected this as did the KPI's I set my teams. 





Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 


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