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Please go away (angry)

If you've got more than one person in your organization, you probably have a policy or two.

And those policies have certainly made someone angry. Now what?

Yesterday, I ran into one of those policies at the cell phone store. Try as I might, I couldn't get the clerk or his manager to see how ridiculous the policy was, or get them to show any ability to work with me on it.

So, the company gave me the following choices:
a. admit that you are wrong and we are right and do business with us on our terms no matter how much it annoys you.

b. decide that compromising your principles or the way you want to do business isn't worth it, decide that we are pathetic morons and leave angry.

Why would you only give your team these two options when dealing with prospects and customers?

The obvious answer is a lot more flexibility in the front line. But of course, that's tricky and expensive and sometimes impossible. I think, though, that there's an easier piece of first aid that every organization ought to install. It costs very little and it gives you another chance.

Give the team one more form. And here are the instructions:

When a customer is really upset about a policy or a procedure or something we did, and the only alternative appears to be telling them to go away angry, pull out this form. Explain (only if it's true) that you are disappointed that they're upset. Explain (if it's true) that you agree that the policy is stupid and doesn't make sense in their case.

Then, working as a team, write up the situation. Work WITH them, egging them on. Get all the details on this form, let them explain to you and to themselves what the problem is. Get their contact info.

When you're done, thank them for helping you (it's true, they are helping you!), then fax the form to the CEOs direct fax number.

No, the person won't get satisfied that minute. But they won't leave angry, either.

That and you just might get rid of a few policies and save a few customers.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Please go away (angry):

» Challenging Policies from Vital Integrities Blog
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» Because Its Policy! from shiftMode
Seth touches on a similar topic to my recent IT battles post. The key difference being that Seths example deals with company policies on how employees interface with their clients. While its the same issue, my post used the example of com... [Read More]

» An Alternative to Bad Policies from
As Ive written on the About page of this blog, organizational policies are sometimes a cause of bad customer service. As a customer, your options in situations like these are limited: either accept the consequences of the bad policy and keep yo... [Read More]

» Customer Service Starts with CEOs from AListReview
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» It Could Work Great, IF.... from LandingTheDeal
The sales person cares about making sure the form gets to where it needs to go. Attaching a commission to a solved problem would probably do the trick. The sales person at the cell phone store is capable of... [Read More]

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Seth, I love you man, but suggesting that an employee and a disgruntled customer work together to document a bad company policy is utopian. Seth Godin writes about a recent experience with a cellular phone company (go figure). It had... [Read More]

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Yesterday the immigrants in the US staged a protest against the new immigration laws by skipping a days work and going on streets to show how much they matter to the US economy. They called it - a day without immigrants! I would not get into if ... [Read More]

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Customers who give us feedback are our greatest joy and our most satisfying challenge. ... [Read More]

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