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Krulak's Law

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Let me rant for a second. I just experienced a frustrating situation. My daughter was trying to catch a flight home with a frequent flyer ticket I gave her. When she booked it, she had to pay a small charge to cover taxes and fees. A few weeks later, the credit card she used for this transaction was compromised and she was sent a new card.

Fast forward to her boarding the flight, the gate agent asked for that old credit card she had used. Even after she explained the situation, the agent told her she would not be able to print her boarding pass or allow her to get on the flight.

No matter how many supervisors or people were called, no one could tell the agent how to solve my daughter’s problem. You can imagine what a traumatic experience it was for both parties. Here is a girl trying to get home, a ticket agent trying to get her home, and nobody to help based on a corporate process.

Have we gone too far in the automation of our systems? Have we taken service out of customer service? Have we become a society where we trust no one, not even our front-line agents to help our customers?

Charles Krulak, one of the great marine generals of our time, has a theory he developed that would have helped the airline in the aforementioned situation. Krulak’s Law is around giving responsibility and autonomy to those on the front-line. Because after all, those employees that are face to face with the actual customers have a great deal of power over the brand.

We need to be tipping the power and responsibility into the hands of our employees. Efforts to standardize and maximize efficiency have caused us to remove the human component and stop trusting our employees. People become cogs in a massive machine, with no ability to make decisions outside of corporate mandates.

When we give them the ability, our employees can handle situations in a compassionate and empathetic manor. They won’t be asking for credit cards that no longer exist.

Companies that embrace Krulak's Law will be more successful, have greater customer satisfaction, and in the end, make the world a better place.

Until next time…I'm Marty, make every minute count.


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