Rewarding Mediocrity – The Disconnect

Posted on April 14, 2012 by From the Front Management No Comments

Have you ever experienced poor customer service?  I’ll bet that at least 99.9 % of the people reading this article will answer yes.  Now I suppose most of the time many of us will pass that off as just a bad day or one bad employee.  Perhaps it is and yet if most people have experienced poor customer service then it becomes an occurrence that is happening all too often.

Any incident of poor customer service that is not corrected immediately is giving a message that there is an acceptance of a lower standard.  When an employee makes a mistake that is understandable and it simply needs correction.

Anytime employees are not kept accountable for the understood standards of service it sends the message that sub-standard work is acceptable.  In other words it sends the message that it is fine to be mediocre or work at an average level.  Anytime a supervisor or manager lets something “slide”, the message is the same.   Letting things slide tells employees it’s OK not to finish the job. The message is that management does not have high expectations so the employees don’t need to have these either. It’s rewarding a part of the job not completed.

Keeping people accountable does not always mean there is discipline that is necessary.    There are many ways to keep people accountable.  Simple reminders whether spoken or written, checking in on how things are going, asking customers, asking other departments, checking paperwork, and many more.  It is letting the employees know that you as the manager are involved and are keeping track of the team.  It tells people that the job they do is important.

If this is not occurring the employees will know almost immediately.  If there is a perception that the manger does not care enough to keep people accountable then the employees don’t need to care.  This spills over to the customers.  Now there is a disconnect between the employees and the manager and a disconnect between the employees and the customers.  Once this disconnect occurs it will almost always result in poor customer service.

The disconnect has occurred when the other party (person) is not considered.  This happens in different ways and not all the time but usually repeats.  As some examples, it may be that an employee acts like a customer is a bother, or a manager never seems to have time for the employees.  It could be an assignment didn’t get done without a reasonable explanation or even that a manager micro-manages at all times.  There is a non-caring or non- trusting attitude going on.

Accepting mediocrity hurts everyone.  Mediocre means that nothing stands out, or it’s neither good nor bad, or it’s just status quo.  It is just being average. Wouldn’t that be great to be known for? One of the causes of mediocrity is the disconnect.


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