Caroline Bradley's husband has been struggling with Sears for weeks now, trying to buy a new treadmill. The whole saga is worth reading, but I thought Caroline's brief comment was especially insightful:
The people we can manage to speak to are limited by the scripts they are required to follow – they have almost no agency in any of this by design. The only people we may be asked to evaluate in any of this are the people who perform the scripts and not the people who write them. The people without power are made accountable rather than the people with power. But if you only choose to ask customers how they were treated by the script-followers you won’t get real feedback about the consumer experience. The systems may be designed that way on purpose, but if that is so it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.
It's not a new insights, but it bears repeating: accountability needs to go hand-in-hand with authority. Accountability without authority is pointless; and authority without accountability invites abuse.