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Friday, January 13, 2012

The Cost of Not Empowering Employees

I take my boys every two months or so to the local Fantastic Sams. We know the girls there. Natalie can speak "super hero" and keeps the boys talking about their favorites all through the cut - a stroke of brilliance which allows her to work her magic with minimal squirming from them.

Last week, they refused to honor a competitor's $1-off coupon. They've accepted them in the past, which I have greatly appreciated because when it comes to trying to coral two four-year olds and get them out the door, I'm lucky I can even find non-expired coupons.

The girls at the desk told me the owner would "have a heart attack" if they accepted a coupon from another store. I will most likely never meet this franchise owner but I'm guessing if she'd have heart failure over a dollar, she'll probably combust over losing two, consistent, loyal customers.

My family goes there because it's convenient and we know what to expect but within a five mile radius there are five other discount hair cutting places. When we are told through employee actions that our business is worth less than four quarters, we'd gladly take it elsewhere.

Business owners, empower your employees to make decisions that improve the customer experience. They are the "face" of your business. You may have "given us" the dollar-off coupon had you been present but your employees sure didn't think to do so. They even thought you'd be mad if they did. How mad will you be about this episode when you realize the cost of not empowering your employees to make decisions cost you two customers? 

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