When someone asks to speak with the manager it is because the customer experience is not going well. Whomever they are currently speaking with no longer has their confidence and going to their boss feels like the only option. There are cases where people ask for the manager way to early or over something very minor.
However there are definitely legitimate times where asking for the manager is the only option. Rather than blaming the individual whom the customer has lost confidence in it may be best to look at everything leading up to the loss of confidence.
I posted about Dave Weiner’s public lashing of Apple over their inability to get him his iPhone. It turns out that in the end he did have to ask for the manager, though in this case it was Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, aka Tim Apple. In Dave’s post titled My email to Tim Cook he clearly states the issues and problems he has experienced.
Within an hour of sending that email he got a call from someone at Apple who was taking care of the issue. Shortly afterwards he got an email from FedEx with details about his iPhone’s delivery.
Clearly there are some problems with Apple’s internal system for handling issues and this case points out a number of them: the automated phone system, the changing of Dave’s credit card to someone else’s, but most damning is the passing of the baton from Apple to UPS. The ol’ “it’s out of our hands” excuse is one that never goes over well with a customer.