Manager unclear on concept of “customer experience”

I was engaged to help a team increase their customer responsiveness when I heard this tale which happened soon after I took the assignment. The manager of the customer first contact area decided to close that area for 2 hours to have a 1-hour meeting with staff to discuss ways to improve service. During one meeting another staffer knocked at the conference room door. “Hey, there are a lot of customers waiting for service. Can a few of you come out and help?”

The manager barked, “We can’t come out because we’re discussing how to improve service!”

Oddly, he didn’t see the irony.

Are your people — even managers — making decisions that adversely affect the customer experience, when they think they are working on improving it?

I wondered why he didn’t start the meeting at a time when there would are usually few customers. Or allow the meeting to disband if more than a few customers are waiting. Or have staff rotate to the meeting on different weeks so there would always be someone to help the customers.

I’m guessing he explored none of these options.

And I’ve come to find out the department manager didn’t know the area was closed weekly.

Is your organization doing anything that sounds like it would be good for the customers, but really is the opposite? If so, are you open to exploring other ways to accomplish the objective?