Sally is a 34-year-old woman who works in the customer service department for a small company that sells printers. Her job involves speaking with customers and addressing their concerns for 8 hours a day. Unfortunately for Sally, customers only reach out to her department when there is an issue with their printers.
After a long day of listening to customer complaints, she felt drained and agitated. She wanted to relax, so she went to dinner with some colleagues. The colleagues began discussing an issue at work that was causing friction between departments. Sally did not agree with her colleagues’ viewpoint on the causes of that friction, but she did not want to say anything because she felt that she did not know enough about the topic. She decided that after this dinner, she would not spend time with these colleagues outside of work anymore. For the remaining part of the discussion, Sally nodded her head and appeared to agree with her colleagues in order to avoid confrontation.
The next day at work, Sally spoke with a customer who disagreed with the warranty policy of the company. The customer explained to Sally that he understood the terms of the warranty, but he described how vital his printer was to his business. He went on to share how the ability to print materials equated to his ability to put food on the table for his family. He asked if there was anything that Sally could do to help. Sally imagined herself in the customer’s position, and decided to look into additional options for the customer. In the end, Sally was able to de-escalate the situation and assist the customer.
This interaction with the customer led her to question their warranty, and she decided to speak with her manager to see if it could be changed. She stated that the current warranty policy was inadequate because it did not provide customers with enough time to determine if the product would function appropriately. She provided supporting evidence to show that many printers failed only 1 month after the 1-year warranty expired. She also calculated the number of those customers with failed printers that did buy a replacement printer from the company Sally worked for. Sally proposed that the warranty be extended to 18 months. Unfortunately her manager did not agree with her argument, and replied to her by asking: “How can you be arguing for change in policy when you are late to work most of the time?” However, the manager did not provide an argument against extending the warranty, so Sally decided she would continue to argue for changing the warranty with the company’s leadership. After several meetings with the company’s owner, Sally was able to get her proposal approved and the warranties extended.