Customer Experience Bliss: Beat Ignorance w/ Initiative

When customers contact us it is because they lack something — information, products, services, remedies, and so forth. It’s the lack that drives the inquiry.

When they face employees’ lack of knowledge, it leaves them a bit frustrated. Ignorance is not customer bliss.

Deliver Customer Bliss: Beat Ignorance With Initiative Image by:industriarts


When customers face lack of initiative and employee apathy, it is the end of their hope for bliss.

Inaction means no chance for the ultimate customer experience. Moreover, customers interpret this lack of initiative as disregard for them.

When ignorance and lack of initiative converge like this, the bill of sale appears as:

(1) Package of Ignorance – $0.00

(1) Earful of I Don’t Know – $0.00

(1) Apathetic I Don’t Care – $0.00

Total Due ——————–> $0.00

The forecast for success is dim!

Beat Ignorance With Initiative & Create Customer Bliss
When I work with companies on delivering the ultimate customer experience, we identify where lack of knowledge and lack of initiative converge to ruin customer experience:

  • On teams that have limited access to information. In this age of e-commerce and social media, blocking employees’ access to information can have the unexpected result of lowering their initiative. They stay in the silo you create.
  • With leaders who focus on blame rather than accountability. Why would employees take the risk of showing initiative if blame is around every corner? Give them access to information, ownership of the challenges, and opportunities to learn!
  • Where managers micro-manage every aspect of customer experience. Micro-managing tells the employees you don’t trust them. It touts your ability and diminishes theirs. It gives them many easy places and reasons to avoid showing initiative.

    Instead, if you engage their ideas you spark their initiative to create customer bliss. Let them own the queue in a contact center, involve them in assessing new tools, have them analyze the customer feedback and create improvements.

  • With leaders who fail to address bad attitudes and lack of performance. Highly pessimistic team members and employees who coast are initiative killers. Frank conversations with them on what is expected is the just the first step. Show initiative and take action to remove them from the team if they don’t change their ways. Don’t let these negative forces ruin the can-do attitudes and great customer experience.
  • When high performers are not team players. Creating blissful customer experiences requires teamwork. When high performers won’t share information or work with other team members, they kill the team’s ability to perform. Leaders often reward these team members for their individual performance and simultaneously damage team initiative.

These are the most common places where initiative suffers. Where else in your organization do you find lack of initiative keeping you from delivering the ultimate customer experience?

The search for initiative is worth the effort for it rescues all from the power of ignorance.

Initiative creates memorable experiences that bring customers back to you — as it cares for them and builds their trust in your brand.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post: 4 Best Steps to Engage Employees’ Initiative

©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

11 Responses to “Customer Experience Bliss: Beat Ignorance w/ Initiative”

  1. Khalid says:

    Great post as usual Kate.

    I would add customer policy. This will ease the employee confrontation and will make the client understands the limitation of client initiative.

    I approached an Icecream shop early this week and it was so crouched that I had to choose the flavor without asking for a trial taste. My kids didn’t like the Icecream taste! So I took advantage later on to dilerver my feedback to the shop once the queue of customers was served and I told him that I had the idea of tasting the Icecream but couldnt coz it was rush hour but he said that the policy is not to do that! Though I still feel it should be allowed but I understood his limitation and I respected that!


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Khalid,
      You are very understanding of the policy. I think they are very short-sided. Most of the food industry understands that you sell more when people have tasted it. Grocery stores sometimes do it, ice cream parlors, etc… In fact there is a gellateria (Italian ice cream) store near the dance studio I study at who gives little tastes of every flavor they have.

      Thanks for the true life story — it always makes the point!

  2. Bill Quiseng says:

    As always, great insight, Kate. Too often, while the delivery of customer service is blamed on the employee, the core problem is with the leadership. It really is unfortunate that what got leaders in their positions in the first place, namely their passion for taking care of their associates and customers on the way up the ladder, is lost in the mire of profit and loss statements and answering to stockholders, many of whom are not regular customers.

    Khalid’s incident in the ice cream store is a prime example. Some top level manager decided that giving away taste samples was costing too much money. Rather than seeing the value in giving the customer a taste of something they might enjoy and come back for again and again, these leaders have set policy and not allowed employees to bend the rules to please the customer, ultimately giving the customer no reason to return or rave about.

    S.C. Edmonds claims that the top three employee complaints about leadership is inconsistent communication, lack of a strategy or goals and lack of accountability. If leaders followed your advice that you gave here, they would create a motivating culture where loyal employees would focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I quite agree Bill that leadership as well as team members do well to embrace the basic concept — find out what they need, deliver it, and treat them well as people!

      And I agree with you about Khalid’s situation.

      Many thanks for your comment today.

  3. Shep Hyken says:

    Couple of thoughts when I read your great post… First, is that a lack of knowledge (a.k.a. ignorance) or lack of initiative have the same effect: lack of customer confidence. When a customer lacks confidence there is very little chance for loyalty.

    Second, it is a shame when employees are micro-managed, blamed, etc – all that you posted above. If these companies would just take a look at some of the role model organizations out there, they would see what really works. They could get a good start by reading your articles!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thanks Shep for your shout out of my customer service & experience posts. You summarized such a key thought — when there is a lack of customer confidence, there is little hope for loyalty. No confidence, no interest in coming back, no loyalty! BAM.

      Always thrilled to have your voice here at Smart SenseAbilities(tm).

  4. Scott Mabry says:

    Your points are right on based on my experience. Creating a service culture that combines the best of accountability and empowerment is no easy task… but it is very rewarding.

    Better yet if you can wrap it in some fun and community. When I’ve seen this done well, I walk into the service center and employees are engaging one another, not just their manager in problem solving, there is energy and laughter and stories of overcoming challenges or winning back a customer are shared with pride.

    I’ve seen the micro managed, heads down, cubicle farms as well…no thanks. Teach people to have a conversation with the customer instead of a transaction. Thanks for lighting the way.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Scott,
      I LOVE your description of an inspired committed team that is motivated by fun and mutual engagement. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Hi Kate,

    As always you raise some great points.

    On several occasions I have been invited into an organisation to help resolve an apparent knowledge issue only to quickly discover that the problem is grounded in constraints (real or perceived) imposed by the organisation. I think in many organisations staff find their hands metaphorically tied behind their backs by policies and procedures that restrict their ability to use their own initiative. It is a sad fact that the procedures and policies introduced to set standards and raise service performance often have the effect of suppressing staff initiative which is undoubtedly one of the root sources of exceptional customer service. You cannot standardise exception service!

    In my experience, most people with knowledge love to share it and if staff are not doing so the key question must by “Why Not?”, is it a lack of knowledge or the freedom to use it? Creating the right environment where initiative is appreciated and nurtured encourages staff to seek knowledge, ask questions and find answers for themselves. Customers are usually quite forgiving of a lack of knowledge, if it is dealt with effectively and helpfully, e.g. “I’m sorry, I don’t know that, but I’ll find out for you.”

    The solution, in my experience, often lies in freeing staff of tight constraints so that they are not afraid to use their initiative. Moving from having tight controls towards providing guidelines and parameters allows staff to use their initiative and apply their knowledge without loss of control or lowering of standards. As Bill commented in an earlier response, the culture and environment to facilitate this is driven by the leadership and management of the organisation. It is to them that staff will look for “permission” to use their initiative.

    Great post Kate. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Very interesting post. Sometimes employees can get tied to pleasing their immediate boss rather than pleasing the customer – so sticking by rules when they are inappropriate, saving pennies on something when if they were more generous to the customer the business would financially benefit from the customer’s loyalty in the long run etc
    I agree with what everyone says about how leadership and workplace culture are crucial to customer loyalty.

  7. Senya V. Santa says:

    Every time I purchase something at the local shopping centre I look not from the ‘client’s point of view’, but from entrepreneur’s perspective and in 99% of cases I see exactly these “Ignorance points”. It is like b2c has transformed into b2me where no one cares about your FAQs, feedback, customer satisfaction (rate) and , simply, communication. The employees have no clue about initiative, yet they are fully aware of “I have to ask (someone else) if we can do it”

    Conclusion: do not become another b2me company, where ignorance is a bliss, yet, dare to become b2c that adds value and use Kate Nasser’s tips to help you lead your organization towards greatness.

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