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Stop with the ‘this is not in my job description’ mentality
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Stop with the ‘this is not in my job description’ mentality

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t send your customers away empty-handed. Yet, there are still plenty of people who do just that, like recently at my garage. Here’s how to put an end to those who have a ‘not my job’ mentality.

During a maintenance service for my car, I wait in my garage. I pass the time with a cup of coffee and my laptop. Suddenly, the noise at the reception catches my attention. A one-year-old car has a defect that cannot be fixed, which visibly disappoints the owner. Then comes the customer service cliché: “Yes, sir. There’s nothing I can do about it either.”

A light-year difference in customer experience

Sentences like the one from the front desk employee make my hair stand on end. I understand that he can’t solve it himself, but why deflect the responsibility? He is the point of contact for the car owner. The owner’s problem should be his problem.

My dealer should be able to assist this customer. If they don’t have the expertise in-house, it’s usually possible to obtain it from elsewhere. In that case, it’s sufficient to say, “We apologize, we understand that it’s frustrating. I will find out how we can still resolve this and will contact you as soon as possible.” That doesn’t change the outcome, but it makes a world of difference in customer experience.

Yes sir, I can’t do anything about it either

Too many employees

Intense longing for a Toyota dealer

It fits the image I have of this Peugeot dealer. Front desk employees look away when I approach them. When I inquire after a long wait if the maintenance has been done, I see that the key has been ready for a while. It’s clear that I, the customer, am not a priority.

And that while the salesperson of my car was a paragon of customer friendliness! I had high expectations regarding the level of service. But now that they have me as a customer, they don’t seem to be as eager anymore. I yearn to return to my previous garage, a Toyota dealer.

The fruits of a cold culture

Such an employee who says ‘I can’t do anything about it’ and doesn’t seek alternatives is also called a snifo. These are employees who believe they are functioning as long as they do what is stated in their job description. They feel responsible for their task, but not for the organization as a whole.

I’m not exactly sure about my garage, but snifos can be the result of a cold culture. You see them in companies that interact with employees solely based on measurable criteria, such as poor KPIs. The work instructions take precedence instead of a professional attitude focused on helping customers as best as possible.

Professional dialogue

Snifos are easy to combat. This can be done by a manager through leading by example and engaging in a good professional dialogue. Discuss with employees the values the organization stands for and how you want to achieve a common goal. Always think from the perspective of customer values: how can I give my customers a good feeling?

Don’t evaluate employees based on the number of customer contacts, but encourage them to make as many customers happy as possible. Give colleagues the freedom to carry out their own work and assist customers with their own talents.

You won’t catch me showing snifo behavior easily. When advising clients, I always act as a representative of iPM Partners. If there’s nothing I can do myself, my colleagues can certainly assist you….

Our new e-book Learn To Build a Beter Organization Together provides insights into what iPM can offer your organization and the results our clients have achieved. We are excited to share our approach with you because we aim to inspire as many people as possible to improve their performance. Take you chance and start building!

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