How to test for unintended consequences of management decisions

How to validate management decisions to avoid the pain of unintended consequences

A Simple Method To Look For Unintended Customer Service Consequences Before They Become Damaging

In our FAQ on how management decisions can create huge barriers — unintended consequences — to the delivery of quality customer service, we provided a real world example of a retailer that fell afoul of staffing consequences that resulted in a store closure, and then eventually, a business closing.

Now let’s look at how to test for unintended customer service consequences.

Avoiding Management Hubris

Managers and executives can forget that while they have a view of the big picture that many employees lack, they, in turn, lack an understanding of customers, and the realities of customer service that exists on a minute to minute basis.

For this reason, decisions can be made based on a narrow set of criteria (e.g. minimizing staffing costs) without properly looking at the unintended consequences or impact on other things important to the business (customer service quality, customer experience)

Get Input From Those That Really Know: Employees On The Line

The only way to anticipate unintended consequences is to bring in those that actually do the work to find out what they think will happen given a certain decision.

Staff cuts are a good example. Employees know exactly what it will mean to customers in terms of wait time, quality experience and so on, if staff gets cut. They will be able to tell you more than any numbers can, particularly because numbers represent averages that tend to hide the important peaks and valleys of the flow of customers.

So, the method is simple. Consult employees who deal directly with customers BEFORE decisions are implemented or made, and then right after implementation and MONITOR the effects of the decision, both quantitatively and by qualitative meaures – again by talking to employees.

Doing so wil save a huge amount of grief and sharpen the decision making process in your company.

Author: Robert Bacal

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