Ms. Ramos was a customer advocate for BofA. Her job was collections and she was told to do three things:
- Think of yourself as the customer,
- Do the right thing for the customer, and
- Do the right thing for the company.
She apparently did less of #3 and was fired for it. Her crime was refunding fees and putting people that weren’t qualified for a "fix pay" (accommodating payment plan rather than 29.99% interest).
Jackie isn’t the first person to be fired for doing what she felt was right and certainly won’t be the last
I am not here to debate the responsibility of debt (things like people should pay off their loans or who gave these people the loans in the first place) or even what corporations made bad decisions that started this financial mess. And, I am sure there are many others including our lawmakers. There is plenty of blame to go around.
My focus is on customer purpose. Doing right by the customer always costs less. Yet our organizations are built around business cost reductions and costs. Few look to the causes of costs.
In the above BofA/Jackie Ramos scenario who is in a position to do what is right for the customer (in my world called who has knowledge). Ms. Ramos outlines in detail some cases she had worked – a cancer patient and legally blind lady to name a couple. These cases did not meet the criteria of getting relief based on policies (most likely) developed based on costs and not knowledge of the work.
What is the purpose of not working with a customer to help them. The job of any collections department devoid of helping customers finding ways to make payments is to miss an opportunity. The result of bankruptcy most likely ends in no payments to the bank, never mind the fallout of an angry customer or disenchanted employee.
The belief that helping customers costs money is one founded in the zero-sum mentality that there is a trade-off between costs and good service. This is a fallacy. Many times executives don’t see the costs of poor service until they get into the work and see for themselves the damage of bad policies and other cost-control decisions.
My business is to help organizations design their systems against customer demand. This approach is powerful as the purpose of the work is not to submit to a policy or specification, but to serve the customer in the context of their demand.
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Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work. Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com "Understanding Your Organization as a System" and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected]. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbitt or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.