Unintended consequences of managerial choice cripple customer service

Every action has unintended consequences that need to be “anticipated”

How Can Unintended Consequences of Executive Decisions Cripple Customer Service

Most actions that have a positive effect will also cause ripples in an organization that can create unwanted consequences and outcomes. It’s unfortunate, but often managerial decisions based on one criteria end up making it impossible for staff to actually serve the needs of customers.

Not only do unintended consequences cause degradation of service, much to the annoyance of customers, but they demoralize staff morale, particularly if the result is that management is seen to be doing something that is pulling in the oppositie direction to what they are saying.

A Real Example of Unintended Consequences In A Retail Chain

A store in a large retail chain was told by head office that because its sales were relatively low, that it could only keep x number of staff on, and even less full time staff.

On the surface it makes sense to try to maximize profit in stores by cutting overhead to the bone, and that was the intent of the head office, despite also exorting staff in the chain to “up their customer service game”.

The unintended consequences for that particular store (and eventually the entire chain which was eventually closed) were:

  • there were not enough staff to maintain even a minimally organized store that was neat and clean.
  • pricing went awry with many items not properly tagged.
  • customer service went from terrible to non-existent, since of course no help was available. In some cases, it became hard for customers to actually spend their money.
  • existing staff pretty much gave up. Faced with decisions they could no control that made their jobs impossible either they looked elsewhere for more hours and satisfaction, OR, they would “show up” in body, but slacked off. They took out their aggressions on management and customers, often in passive aggressive fashion.

Author: Robert Bacal

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