"I'll Check with My Manager" - The Problem and Your Options

By Jeremy Blake on May 26, 2019

I had another I’ll just ‘check with my manager moments’ on Saturday.

While in Milton Keynes aka MK Downtown Central LA I was in a relative bustle, and having stocked up to sort the upcoming PGL trip for my youngest I ventured to a café.

I won’t say who, that would be easy to slight an organisation based on one experience but what I will do is tell the story as it cuts to a deep illness that is in so many businesses.

Having ordered a drink I saw the sign saying X% off with loyalty card. I said to the person who had served me, “Hi, I’ve just noticed the X% off – I’ll find my card, order another drink and then and we can do the discount combined then?”

“Fine,” she said as she returned to heating up milk in metal.

When I then rose to order my second drink I produced my loyalty card to be asked, “have you got the code?” I clearly looked nonplussed, so she continued with, “the code when you registered.”

“Oh no, I registered months ago and haven’t been in, but here is the card.”

It turns out, and it is too dull to write about, that the offer was a one off and I needed my email to get my one off percentage discount off my café order.

When I remarked it was a strange short term loyalty scheme and I explained that I hadn’t used my discount and yet I had the card, that sent her into a dilemma.

By this stage her colleague had appeared and so they looked at each other, then one said, “I can check with my manager if you like, to see if I can apply the discount.”

Oh retail land on our island, soon to be a smaller one it seems, why do you allow this process to exist in your business?

I told her not to bother and it soured the 40 minutes I had all to myself on Saturday.

The only reason why any person has to check with a manager is that the organisation doesn’t trust its employees, the very people who they want to grow their business.

It is as simple as that, they just don’t trust them.

Come at me with something else? “Well we need to ensure we don’t give away discounts to people who shouldn’t have them?”

Ok, so the one off cost of the discount to one customer of 35 pence is worth more to you than the repeat coffee and drink business you might enjoy?

A low drink buyer buying only one a month might spend £42 a year and a regular might spend £728 per year and yet a misplaced 35 pence is worth more?

If it is a training issue, then train them, you’ve trained them well to recognise cues and know when to say, “let me check with my manager,” hmm, I think this training could be re-directed!?

These people, are paid low wages and the one thing that you could give them to develop them as people and make them enjoy what they do more, is give them some discretion.

If your top line leadership doesn't trust you and you have this across your business in multiple departments whether they are customer serving or not, then you have a malaise running through your whole organisation.

You can grin and bear it, leave, influence getting external experts in communication and leadership in to help, or work on getting the culture to change in your team.

Remember change doesn’t have to come from the top down, real change comes from the ground up.

What they say

“I’ll just check with my manager to see if I can apply that discount.”

What they mean

“I am so sorry they don’t trust me one inch and the time I am taking to find a manager and implement this will cost more than the discount you may have every right to enjoy!”

What they say
“I’ll just check with my manager to see if I can give you some money off for the missing button.”

What they mean

“Oh please I know it is obvious and why should you go home and spend time sewing a button on.
Still, the fact is my firm don’t think I am able to recognise a real fault in the clothes. They also might think you might be my mate that I’m trying to help.”

What the manager feels inside

  1. “Good they are checking with me, at least I have some semblance of power in this place.”
  2. “I’m so sorry you have to check with me, my this is so embarrassing, you are brighter than I am, I hope I’m not affecting your dignity.”
  3. “This is in effect my job now, I can look busy and punch in the right code to sort this, I’m the only one here who knows the codes in-fact, at least my job is secure

Every time someone says, “I’ll just check with my manager’ a small part of them and a large part of the customer’s commitment and loyalty dies.

Growth and happiness lies in trust.

Reality Training is soon embarking on a large UK training tour where we are taking our DRIVES workshop into organisations to help them learn how to develop collaborative teams.

DRIVES stands for Discretion, Roles, Integrity, Vision and Self Worth it builds on research into what makes teams collaborate and support each other.

It also enables leaders and managers to design and create the right principles for a team to engage with and prosper.

To find out and see if DRIVES can help you, email DRIVES to ann@realitytraining.com