“I hope they tell me, ‘That’s just our policy,’” said no one… ever.
Does it seem like policies do nothing but get in the way of whatever you’re trying to get done? In theory, all policies were derived to help the business run smoother and to better service the client. But when a policy is held so strictly that there is no room for flexibility, it becomes not so good for the client, and therefore, not so good for the business.
Customers today seem to have numerous companies to choose from in every imaginable category, and often it is customer service that makes the difference. But every good business owner knows that “standard” customer service is expected – you should already be doing the minimal things if you hope to stay in business. In order to move beyond simply satisfying a customer’s needs to building a loyal customer who will both revisit and send others, you have to be willing to give them something more. Often, that means breaking a policy.
The thought of “breaking a policy” might make you pucker up in various areas. Thoughts like “But what kind of precedence are we setting? What id other customers catch on and expect the same? IT WILL RESULTS IN TOTAL CHAOS FOR OUR BUSINESS!!”
Take a deep breath. Exhale. Okay! Feel better?
Let’s play worse-case scenario for just a moment. Often, we become so used to a particular policy that we don’t even take time to evaluate what would happen if it were not in place. Or better yet, what would happen if we let it slide, just once or twice? I’m not suggesting you don’t hold firm in your policies and procedures, especially when it comes to your staff. But as the business owner or manager, it’s important to be able to discern whether the benefit of upholding the policy outweighs the benefit of bending it… in this specific instance.
The next time you have a situation with a customer that could be resolved by breaking a policy, at least consider the option. Is the customer one that is or has the potential to be loyal? How many potential customers can this person persuade about your business, positively or negatively? Will breaking policy on this occasion really lead to the downfall of the entire system? Or is this an opportunity to demonstrate your company’s flexibility and empathy?
Think of the last time a business broke a policy for you. I bet you were sure to tell others all about them.