Are Your Staff Consistent and Clear with Customer Service?

As a consultant, trainer and speaker I travel extensively and spend many hours in airports and airplanes.  My husband and I also travel a lot to find sun, warmth and golf.  Recently we became the proud parents of a white, fluffy puppy – a 4.5 lb Maltese who has a great temperament, personality and high IQ (or so we have been told by the veterinarian and puppy school trainer).  This pup has not slowed our love for travel and she is now an international jet setter.

As a family, we have a personal preference and fly a certain airline.  On this airline we have come across many differences in ‘puppy travel in the airplane cabin.”  We have experienced the relaxed “she is so adorable” to the over-the-top “don’t unzip the puppy travel carrier bag even one inch”.  We have also experience the “here are the rules to a T” and the other extreme of “you must be aware of how this dog travel works by now”.

The common denominators are the airline, the in-cabin pet policies and us travelling with the cutest dog there ever was on a plane.  The uncommon denominator is the airplane personnel using their discretion to serve us as puppy travellers.

Most recently we experienced a frustrated airline stewardess while we were trying to give our puppy a drink of water (she was still in her travel bag).  The lengthy amount of time in a travel bag because the flight was delayed and with no water had us concerned.  The scorn was obvious from the frown of disapproval and the head shake as she stomped away from our aisle.

Now I am not professing a problem with the airline and their pet rules nor am I defending/justifying our actions.  My issue is with the different personnel and how they administer puppy travel rules – are they based on TSA or cuteness?

When I think about the different companies and corporations I have worked with, I am quickly reminded of the biggest cause of customer service problems – inconsistency in the degree and level of discretion used when implementing rules.  Because every employee is individual and unique, so are the interpretations of what they can do, how they interpret the rules and the extent to which they can accommodate the clients and their needs.

It is not usually until there have been a number of complaints and issues with policy adherence, interpretation or waiving that business recognize there is a problem.  So let’s ask a few questions:

1.  Are your staff clear on the degree and level of discretion they have?

2.  Do your staff know the lower and upper limits of policy amendments allowed in customer service?

3.  When discretion problems arise, do you focus on the employee, the policy or the discretionary rules?

If you have come across these situations often and continue to have problems with policy interpretation or degree of discretion then it might be the right time for change in your company.  Contact us at 604-349-8660 or to book your Alignment Strategy Session. Perhaps is the leadership that needs to communicate more effectively? Learn more about our Building Better Bosses Program.

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