Step 3, the third element of service recovery is we have to be empowered. That means every single person has to be able to make a very fast decision on the spot. They have to be able to bend the rules to take care of a customer, to make a customer over-happy. The last thing we want is an employee to say, “Mr. Customer, Mr. Tschohl, Miss Gonzales, we have rules, we have policies and we have procedures, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
I was on the phone with my newspaper called the Star Tribune. I have a little problem with the newspaper person not coming on time and I don’t get the newspaper before I leave, so I call them up. “I need your e-mail address, I need your phone number, I need your street address.” They go through all thing stuff. I said, “You’ve already got that, I call 2, 3 times a week.” She said, “I’m so sorry, sir, we have policies and we have rules and we’re required to ask this.” I said, “They’re stupid.” She says, “Well, we have to ask them.”
I mean, so I need people to make empowered decisions. If I got somebody that says, “Hey I’m tired of giving you all this stuff,” “Don’t worry about it, sir, I’ll take care of you.” Employees are rule-driven. Empowerment is the magic of service recovery.