The Buck Stops Here!! - [website] Email Print
Published: 24th of Oct 2019 by: Carolyn Kessler

I recently called a huge company which boasts an equally huge call-centre. It was my sixth call to them in the vain glorious hope of rectifying a mistake which they had made on my account.

Every time I called them, I was assured that everything had been sorted out. Needless to say, that was an empty assurance. I was highly irritated, both because I needed the situation to be rectified, and because I was patently aware of how powerless I was in the face of their inefficient and uninterested call-centre operators!

On the last call, I was brought up short when, after explaining how often I had been assured all was sorted, the operator told me: "Well it's not my fault- I haven't spoken with you before- it's the others!"

He was seriously indignant. How could I hold him responsible when he hadn't dealt with my situation previously? Forget the fact that he represented the company irrespective of whether or not we'd spoken personally. He simply did not see why he should be lumped with the others- he was not to blame!

I confess that I was furious, all the more so because he continued defending himself. (I did however, get some excellent material for the Frontline workshops we run - I couldn't have concocted a better example of how NOT TO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS!)

Fact is- if you answer the phone, if you are employed by a company in any capacity, you are responsible. You are the face of the company and need to be willing to admit that the buck stops with you, no matter you weren't personally involved. It's your responsibility to help me and do your utmost to resolve my issue.

Why do we avoid taking responsibility? I think there are a number of reasons which push us into this "not my fault" behaviour pattern.
They include:

• "I don't have the product knowledge to resolve this issue."

• "I had a late night last night and I'm just too tired to get involved."

• "I truly don't believe I bear any culpability if I didn't cause the problem".

• "Just because I work for the company doesn't mean I am my brother's keeper- it's every person for himself/herself."

• "It's not my job- and what can the customer do to me anyway?"

• "I'm not paid enough to deal with this kind of situation!"

• "I'm just too scared to deal with this disappointed customer."

I could go on and on, and I'll bet you can add a few of your own. I've heard all of these reasons from customer care people at one time or another- and then some.

But, I want to introduce a reason which isn't often put forward and which I feel lies at the heart of this attitude much of the time:

Many companies do not expend nearly enough of their resources on training their frontline staff. They think anyone can answer a phone and deal with clients- and they are so very, very wrong.

Please don't let this be you or your company. Understand that Frontline work is a profession which requires effective training in order to equip employees with the correct attitude. Your customers deserve better treatment, as does the bottom line on your company balance sheet!

Give us a call, visit our website, our Facebook page- you'll gain insight into how serious we are when it comes to upskilling people to take themselves and their jobs seriously enough to have a default thought pattern which reads something like: "The buck stops here, with me!"

Find out more: Frontline Reception Training

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.

Email us at for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660

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