Are Your Managers “Heroes” or “Zeros” When Putting Out Customer Fires?

We’ve all been there.  Stuck in an unsatisfactory customer experience with no hope of resolution in site, and we utter the words “Can I speak with the manager, please?”

Ah, The Manager – the person that holds the magical key to all resolutions and customer happy endings.  That’s the way it works in your organization, right?  Well, chances are that as a business leader, you are not even exactly sure as to what is happening when your managers are asked to assist.

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Let’s take that a step further…what are your managers trained to do in a difficult customer situation?  Trained, you ask?  Why do they need to be trained?  They manage a team and have seen every possible scenario, don’t they have all of the answers?

And there is the problem – organizations assume that managers have everything covered, but rarely offer training or a roadmap of handling common issues that both team members and managers will face.  What do you think your chances are of customer retention or simply good will when the manager gets involved only to make the situation worse?

Managers Making Situations Worse

Service Management Group (SMG) headquartered in Kansas City, is an organization that measures the customer experience for many organizations.  While tracking feedback for a restaurant client, they found some startling results.  SMG coded all the complaint comments into categories and expected to find that most problems would be related to either food or service.   While that was true, the unexpected discovery was that the restaurant managers were the main cause of the very worst issues.  These were issues where the customer complained about the food or service, so the manager came to the table.  But the managers only made the original problem worse by being defensive or unwilling to work with the customer.

As a result, one-third of the calls that were escalated by the customer to the corporate office were about the managers’ failure to help with the issue.  One must wonder if those issues were worthy of escalation if the manager had not stepped in?=

Now, as yourself what is currently happening in your organization a customer asks, “may I speak with your manager, please??”

One way to be a little more confident with the answer to that question is to provide your team and managers the tools to handle tricky situations effectively and consistently.  Colton RV, an amazing recreational vehicle dealership based in Western New York, did just that recently with the launch of their Zero Risk Playbook.  In Zero Risk, we focus on the areas where we drop the ball and making sure our managers and team members then have the protocols in place to make it right.

Here is a great example from Colton RV that helps both managers and customer-facing team members when customers are not happy.  It is their protocol for handling customer complaints, and it is LEAP TO action.  Colton’s new LEAP TO action helps ensure that all team members (especially managers) have the tools they need to effectively handle a customer complaint, and it ensures that the process is happening consistently well across the entire organization.  Here is what LEAP TO action reminds the Colton team to do every time they receive a complaint:

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By following their new LEAP TO action guideline, team members and managers now have the tools and confidence to handle any tricky issue they may face.  Likewise, customers are having their expectations set and follow-up provided on a consistent basis.  LEAP TO action is a win-win scenario when things do not go quite right.

*Related – Are your Zero Risk to do Business with?

DJ Santiago Speaking at the 2021 Customer Service Revolution

Screen Shot 2021 09 07 At 10.35.07 PM, The DiJulius GroupWe are so thrilled to announce that DJ Santiago will be presenting at this year’s Customer Service Revolution on Oct 5th – 6th. DJ is an inspiration and the definition of resiliency. He went from a young at-risk kid from the inner city of Cleveland to playing professional baseball, becoming a successful business owner, and author. His passion today is helping others believe in and reach their dreams.

Episode 053: The Science of Service and Loyalty with Jack Mackey

CSR Ep053 FB Feature 1, The DiJulius GroupDave Murray, Senior Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group, sits down with Jack Mackey who’s listed in the Who’s Who of Customer Experience and is a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Understand how to create remarkable new experiences by solving not selling and make it easy for your customers to buy from you by engaging human-to-human and teaching through stories. Jack is keynoting at this year’s Customer Service Revolution on Oct 5th-6th. Listen to Podcast 52.

Join us in Cleveland or Virtually

  this October 5th & 6th!                                    


The 2021 Customer Service Revolution conference, October 5th & 6th in Cleveland, is a passionate community of leaders from all over the world, set out to disrupt their industries and become the brand customers and employees cannot live without. Whether you are B2B or B2C, you are all really H2H, Human to Human.

Learn how to:

  • Deal with the Great Resignation era
  • Build a fantastic employee culture that retains your top talent and makes your business the brand others want to work for
  • Recruit only “A” players and stop compromise
  • Adjust your customer experience in a post covid economy
  • Manage customer expectations
  • Keep your customers happy even when you have staff shortages and supply chain issues
  • Network with the top CX Visionaries around the world

Register today and secure your spot before seats sell out. Don’t feel comfortable traveling? Check out our virtual ticket option to enjoy the show from wherever you are!


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About The Author

Dave Murray

Dave is the Senior Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group and has helped dozens of companies create incredible systems that allow them to consistently deliver superior customer service. Dave’s experience has varied from leading call centers and front-line team members, to working closely with key partners and stakeholders.