Customer Service: When Bureaucracy Takes Over Common Sense

BureaucracyThere’s no denying it, your customers should be your number one priority in your business. After all, without customers we would have no business and no income!

When faced with good or bad service, unfair policies or treatment, our customers now have the choice to share their frustrations and experience with the world through different social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook which also has the ability to get passed around and stay on the web…pretty much forever!

I personally think that it’s great that we now have the chance to speak directly to different businesses and voice our opinions about products and services and share our experiences with others. I recently received poor customer service from a big corporation which made me feel like they didn’t care very much about me or my business and left me very frustrated. I decided to share my frustrations on Twitter, Facebook and this is also what inspired me to write this article.


Bureaucracy is one of the main reasons why most businesses struggle to deliver authentic customer service. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of bureaucracy is “a hierarchy of authority and a system of administration marked by officialism, red tape, and proliferation”.

To a certain level, bureaucracy is there to control the employees in the business so that there are predetermined systems and procedures in place which in turn are regurgitated back to the customers. We’ve all experienced the negative effects of bureaucracy – bogus show of interest, scripted speeches and responses, fake smiles and inflexibility and unresponsiveness to customer’s individual situations.

Bureaucratic environments

Employees who work in bureaucratic environments are often less than enthusiastic about the company’s products or services and they often give the impression that they are not happy to be working there. Their work environment directly affects the effectiveness of the organization. Common sense is rarely used as systems and regulations take over individual thinking.  Everybody and every situation is treated the same according to the rules that officials have put in place.

Providing great customer service

To make employees care about providing great customer service, changes need to start at the top. Corporate leaders need to care about their customers and employees and treat them as individuals rather than simple numbers or dollar signs. Usually in return, employees will feel more empowered and assume more responsibility because they know they’re appreciated and are an important part of the team.

Corporations and businesses have to encourage their employees to use more initiative and common sense when it comes to service! They have to make their employees care about their business and brand so that these employees will want to make the satisfaction of their customers their number one priority.

Furthermore, businesses will have to treat each individual customer as if they were the most important customer in the world. You can’t start caring simply when people are complaining or unhappy! Taking the time to listen and getting to know their customers through these social media channels and pay attention to what they want or don’t like. At the same time,  they should make sure to take advantage of these opportunities to make some changes and improve their business.

New expectations

Consumers expectations are changing drastically and businesses have to change along with it. Taking your relationship with you customers for granted will only eventually come back to haunt you. Listening to your customers and treating them as important individuals without simply thinking of them as numbers should be part of your company’s culture. It’s not simply about selling your services or products anymore! You need to be more adaptable and flexible in order to meet these new expectations.

More than ever people are influenced and making buying decisions based on what others are saying on social media platforms. By cultivating long term relationships with your customers, you’re eventually creating ambassadors who are willing to share their positive experience with their family and friends.

Have you ever had a good or bad customer service experience that you have shared on different social media platforms?



Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »