Looking around, we’ve seen several situations
where employees used good judgment to speak up, identify problems
and help us fix some of the missteps that could cost us promoters.
In Fredericksburg, for example, we’ve eliminated
a lot of confusion caused by vague rules covering a discount program
for first-time customers. The ambiguity annoyed customers, produced
detractors, and wasted precious time.
We solved it by giving reps more authority and
simple instructions: “Make decisions based on how you’d like to be
treated if you were the customer.” It’s a first step and we’ve got
more work to do, but we’re headed in the right direction.
In another case, our customer care policy
irritated QuickBooks customers.
The policy was quite strict, limiting free
customer inquiries to questions concerning first-time
installation problems and known bugs. We charged customers for
questions outside those rules, taking their credit card number no
matter what, and again, annoying them in the process.
Today, we’ve loosened the rules. We answer
a broader set of questions at no charge,
and customer satisfaction is increasing. The change also
delivers for our employees by reducing escalations and increasing
satisfaction by enabling them to meet customers’
And in our call centers, we’ve found a similar
solution to questions about refunds.
Historically, we gave agents little latitude.
They followed a burdensome, inefficient procedure that required
several steps before a decision was made and customers were
Now, with additional training, agents are
authorized to make on-the-spot decisions, satisfying customers and
making them promoters.
These are all excellent examples of identifying
and changing policies that sacrificed customer satisfaction in favor
of what appeared to be business efficiency. In reality, however,
what’s wrong for the customer is wrong for the business. By bringing
these problems to the appropriate leader, employees helped solve
problems and helped create Intuit promoters.
It’s a mistake to implement flawed policy.
But to let it continue and to remain silent is even worse. Let’s be
smart. Have the courage to speak up. That’s part of your job.