When Your Employees Throw You Under the Bus

26 October 2009

The communication company, Comcast, recently upgraded their broadcast capabilities and required customers to contact a Comcast office for conversion equipment. I went to a local office and was surprised to find if full of customers. I dutifully took my number and waited. 30 minutes later the customer service representative called me to the desk and my needs were addressed. As he got my equipment we chatted and I asked him if it was always this busy. “Yep. It’s always like this. Management decided that it was OK for you to wait this long since they laid-off two of the people in this office.”
Buried within this little exchange are multiple, unstated messages, none of which Comcast would have intentionally sent me. From the service rep I learned that he believes Comcast doesn’t care about him as a part of the team, otherwise, they would not have reduced the staff to a point where he is always dealing with unhappy customers from waiting too long. He believes that it doesn’t make any difference how hard he works, because he can never have a positive impact on the lines. So, he just picks a pace, keeps his head down and presses on. That tells me he is not feeling engaged or important as an employee and that his supervisor is disconnect from the service reps and how they feel. Why is it that I, the customer, seem to be the only person asking how his day is going? Why isn’t the supervisor there to take care of the workers? He let me know that Comcast is internally focused on cost control to the
exclusion of the workforce and customers. He let me know that Comcast has reached the point that they really don’t need me as a customer. Why is it that he was so willing to immediately hang out the company dirty laundry for me? Is it that no one else seems to care about him? He was very willing to throw the company under the bus and did not worry about creating negative impressions in my mind because he frankly didn’t care
anymore. How sad it is when your people don’t care anymore.
Don’t make your customers be the ones your employees talk to about how miserable work is. If your people don’t like working for you, why would I like doing business with you? Nurturing the relationship between supervisor and worker is extremely important. Please consider being mindful of this fact.

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