You may remember a couple of postings I wrote from the summer of 2006 about how Sears Canada had forgotten their brand promise. The essence of what I wrote was that Sears, by quietly abandoning their commitment to service, had become no different from the legions of other big box stores in the market.
Ordinarily I don't pay much attention to old posts, but this one is different. The original post has become a magnet for disatisfied Sears Canada customers, as hundreds have written their own stories and added them to the thread.
Tellingly, nobody from Sears has ever responded, except for the occasional Sears employee who has come by to defend the new policies. That is, until now. Someone claiming to be a Sears employee from the customer service department in Belleville has written to say that she has been put on notice by Sears for caring about customers. She handles 3.25 calls per hour rather than the mandated 6 to 8 because she takes the time to find solutions for customers. She takes too few breaks because sometimes solving a customers problem means that she can't get off the phone right away and she's unwilling to hustle the customer off the phone. It's affecting her team's "score", and that's reflected in her performance review.
Remarkable. She's concerned that it may result in her termination. I'd say give her a promotion and let her turn the department around.
The lessons for us all?
- Pay attention to what's being written about your company on the Internet. That should go without saying.
- Make sure that you're measuring the right things. Shouldn't Sears be measuring customer satisfaction rather than call durations?
- A company is made up of many individuals who all have different commitments to the corporation and to the customer. Find the gems in your organization. They're there. All you have to do is look.