After working in various positions for ten years in the retail industry in the Northeast, Dan was excited that he had landed the hot job as Director of Customer Relations for a large, major national brand company in the Mid-west.
Dan thought to himself- I’ve got this! At 32, he was excited for this big opportunity in his career. Dan worked hard from the start to make sure that everyone who was in his unit understood the results that he wanted.
The company had a policy of a first-quarter performance review for each new employee. Dan was shocked when his boss started his review by telling him that he gave Dan a “Needs Improvement” rating for his overall performance.
Dan’s boss went on to talk about how employee satisfaction was directly related to customer loyalty and satisfaction. His boss started discussing Dan’s management of his unit and the impact on his employees. But, Dan was very irritated as soon as he heard “Needs Improvement” and really didn’t listen carefully after that.
Starting the next day, Dan spent even more hours at the store and talked with each of his subordinates several times over the next few weeks about what he expected. Sometimes he was straightforward and harsh in these conversations.
About six weeks after the initial performance review, Dan’s boss had another meeting with him and told Dan that the group’s performance had gotten worse with more customer complaints about service and the resignation of one of the members of Dan’s group. He handed Dan a letter that notified him that he was on performance review and discussed that the primary issue was that more customers seemed to be dissatisfied with their interactions with customer service and his team did not seem to be performing well. He also told Dan that he wanted Dan to think about his performance and come back in a few days to discuss what he planned for the future.
Dan was worried and called a friend of his from a previous company with whom he had worked. During the conversation, the friend commented that companies differed regarding what was wanted from the customer relations department and that companies differed in culture. The one at which they both worked wanted efficiency in processing sales and returns, but other companies had other behaviors that were valued.
Dan suddenly remembered the comments he had heard but not paid much attention to customer satisfaction and loyalty. He thought about those comments for a few hours and realized that he had focused on his former company’s goals but not those of his new company. Dan spent the next two days writing a series of different behaviors that he needed to take on that were directly in line with developing customer satisfaction and loyalty and building his team. These are what he discussed with his boss in their next meeting and what he made his priority after that.