There once was a man who was very excited. His brand new large-screen OLED TV had arrived the week before a big football game broadcast and he was busily preparing for the big day.
On the eve of the game, the TV just stopped working. A complete blank.
He immediately ran to the store he bought the TV from to enlist their help and advice.
When he reached the counter, sweaty and in a highly distressed state, the sales clerk was at a loss as to how to help the man.
She looked around for the assistant manager without luck. After much fumbling through the piles of documents on the counter, she eventually found the code for the loud-speaker and called the assistant manager.
The assistant manager arrived and explained to the man that they have policies and procedures for this sort of thing. “Did you fill out your warranty?” he asks, “Do you have a receipt? Did you bring the TV with you?”
Finally, he said, “I cannot issue any kind of refund. This needs to be taken up with the manufacturer.”
The man was very angry, so the assistant manager called the manager to back him up. But the manager wasn’t really familiar with the policy and called another store manager. And at the end of the day, everyone was exhausted and frustrated, and no one was happy.
The moral of the story…
A business with systems such as these is doomed to fail.
The man, while they may have his money from the initial sale of the TV, will never return to that store again. What’s more, it’s highly likely he’ll spread the word about his bad experience.
In the meantime, clerks and managers will continue to drown in a pool of confusion, complicated policies and illogical procedures.
If the store had a simple policy to do whatever is in the customer’s best interest, the clerk and the manager or the assistant manager could have resolved the problem immediately.
If that policy was clearly communicated to all employees and the clerk knew how to quickly and easily contact the right team member, the customer’s experience could have been far more positive and smooth.
Likewise, if there were small and clearly defined teams working together, this could have been much more positive.
From decision-making to planning to communication to organisational structure, simplicity is instrumental to staying sane and successful in a complicated business world.