The Buck Stops… Nowhere

Whatever happened to accountability?

It used to be that workers and managers alike took pride in their work and not only accepted but craved accountability.  “The Buck Stops Here” was a statement made with some pride and finality.  When we heard it we knew that we had reached the end of the line and whatever happened next would be the best possible outcome and resolution to our issue.

Now it seems that no one wants to make a decision or take responsibility for an outcome.  “That’s not my department, I can’t help you, I’m just following the procedure” are the only things people can say about anything.

The larger the organization, the worse it is.  Everyone is so afraid of getting fired or sued that no one is willing do anything.  No one has any real power.  We’ve become slaves to procedure and no one, not even the so-called boss has the discretion to make a judgement call.

The result is the complete absence of accountability.  One person can tell you one thing, another can tell you something else and neither one of them needs to be right.  The only right answer is the one approved by the procedure.   If someone makes a mistake or gives you wrong information they are never forced (or even allowed) to honour their promises because that’s not the procedure.

Customer service is all about empowering people to make decisions, giving customers what they want and honouring your promises.  When you make a promise, you see it through.  When you make a mistake, you own it and do everything possible to make it right.

I am committed to what I call “next level” customer service with all of my clients.  And to me a big part of customer service is about accountability.

If you’re a manger or a business owner, ask yourself – where does the buck stop?  Have you empowered your people to make decisions?  Do you honour your promises, no matter the cost?

That’s Next Level Customer Service.  That’s accountability.


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