I work directly with the public and when the rules that I am supposed to follow don’t please our clients, they can get pretty rude. That would be okay, but if they ask to speak to the manager, she never backs me up. She gives people whatever they want, making me look like the bad guy and teaching our customers that they don’t have to play by the rules.
A.First of all, please give up the idea that you can teach customers how to play by the rules and be polite. If they didn’t learn that at home, they’re not going to learn it from you. The real issue is that you don’t feel supported by your manager when you enforce organizational policies. She’s playing good cop/bad cop, and you always have to be the bad cop. Why not approach this as a customer service issue? Ideally, customers should be able to get what they need from the first person they encounter. If the manager overrules you again, explain that you want to provide the best customer service possible and ask her if there is more flexibility in the policies than you had thought. It might be that you are interpreting the rules more strictly than you need to. However, she may tell you that it is the job of employees like yourself to enforce policies, and only managers are empowered to make exceptions. If that’s the way it is, accept it gracefully. But ask that when she does grant an exception, she let the customer know that you were following the correct procedures, so the client will not see you as incompetent or as an obstacle to good service, but will have confidence all of the organization’s employees.
If your supervisor were continuing to overrule you & not explaining to customers you were following correct procedure, you might consider a different response when the customer asks for an exception. You could say, “Would you like to speak to my supervisor? I speak for the rules; she speaks to exceptions.” This way you’re facilitating problem resolution with the customer which helps make all employees look empowered. If your supervisor objects to this response & has nothing suitable to offer, then it’s time to consider if what you’re getting from the job outweighs this irritant. No job is perfect. If it does, then let it go & continue to do your job to the best of your ability within the predetermined structure. If it does not, then begin planning your exit strategy (which begins with finding other employment which is a better match not only for your skills but for your values). This can take some time and meanwhile, don’t check out of your current job. Things can and do change!