Twice in recent days I’ve had the “opportunity” to contact Customer Support at some large service vendors.  You’d think with a name like Customer Support I would get supported, but from my experience, the only thing being supported are the families of the people in the call center.

Both issues were legitimate gripes about unannounced and unwanted billing methods.  One of them was just a (rather significant) inconvenience, but the other took hard-earned money from my pockets and transferred it to the coffers of this public company without my permission.  In both cases, I got an explanation that included the phrase, “Well, it’s our policy…

Every organization has policies.  Rules.  Methods.  Procedures.  But when you face customers, unless your policy does something good for THEM, the customers don’t care!  I wanted to say, “Well, I have a policy to not do business with people who treat me poorly,” but my mother taught me better.

First, make better policies.  And if your “policy” impacts the customer negatively (Unsure?, why don’t you ASK THEM!), then create another policy on how you will  treat the customer. If you don’t treat your customers well, your competitor probably will.

Second, don’t ever — EVER — tell the customer that it’s your policy that prevents you from making the situation right.  Your boss — maybe even the CEO — may have rules you have to follow to keep your job, but the customer DOES NOT CARE.

Who ever said “The customer is always right” clearly never dealt first-hand with customers.  But anyone will react negatively when told that it’s procedure to treat them poorly.  And in today’s internet/Twitter age, the offending company ultimately will be the one to suffer long-term.

Back to my situation… In both cases, in exchange for my time (30+ and 45+ minutes) on the phone (and getting to talk to a supervisor — ooooh, lucky me), the companies violated their own policy to change the situation back to what is acceptable to me, the customer.  Must not be much of a policy if one phone call can change it.  Sounds like trying to rip off unsuspecting customers to me.

Don’t give “policy” as a reason for not meeting your customers’ requests.

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