Dumb Management Rules
I experienced the oddest customer interaction last week. As my son is less than a year away from driving, something I cannot believe, we have started the process of deciding on a suitable first car.
Saturday we pulled into a dealership intending to test drive a car. We were immediately greeted by a salesperson and we expressed our interest in test driving a specific model. No sooner had I finished my sentence, I got her response. “Okay, we only like to test drive with people that are serious about buying today. Are you?” I have bought a lot of cars in my years and I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like her response.
As I told her my displeasure in her response and let her know we would be taking our business elsewhere, happy that the dealership has many competitors, she began to try and recover. She told me they have a lot of people just come in wanting to test drive with no intention of buying so management put this policy in place. And there it was….
Bad management often creates sweeping reactive rules for the team around a specific problem causing collateral damage across the organization.
I thanked her for the response and let her know I understood she was just following the rules but we would be taking our business elsewhere. Then I watched her walk back to the group of salespeople standing around with no customers. We were literally the only potential sale of the lot.
Unless we are the lucky few, we all are in commodity sales of some sorts. Competition is everywhere and fighting hard for success. One of the only ways to create lasting loyalty today is through Raving Fan service.
Management must have the intelligence to understand a large part of its job is to create an environment where the team is allowed as much elasticity as possible to please a potential customer.
Otherwise your team can live in a rules-centric commodity environment where management is on auto pilot and the team has plenty of time to hang out on the lot full of cars.