Customer Service Policy & Practice

Don't be a legalistic idiot. Business is not about getting money from people who don't want to give it to you or want it back, for good or services that were never provided. Who would come up with this as a definition for business, much less good business? This sounds more like a government taxation department or extortion, or simply fraud.

Function of Policy

Policy should not be an excuse. It is used often as a source of legitimation of company decisions, but that should be for good decisions, not poor ones. In other words, policy is not a good reason in and of itself. This is even more the case when the person involved is the creator of that policy, or has the power to disregard or overrule or otherwise make an exception to policy. Indeed, company policies change, they are not immutable, handed down by god.

Indeed, in the case of say, higher courts of law, it is not only the law itself, but its application and the rightness of the law which are all considered. If a law is causing an injustice, then it is at times itself struck down or reinterpreted.

Company policy is so much less of a legally binding order as to be laughable. Of course, from the inside of a company it can be useful to pursue the goals of the organization. Policy can help educate employees and where they are not given decision-making power, following policy is a bureaucratic mechanism which can work well.

But lets look closer at the goals of the organization, for this is where policy can be judged good or bad in a given instance. You can be sure of one thing, however:

If a policy is being used to take or keep a customers money without providing them value and without incurring any costs in the organization, this is a damaging application of policy.

  • Damaging to the customer (they feel cheated)
  • Damaging to the organization (their reputation will suffer)
  • Damaging to the employee (morally damaging, in that they have caused the suffering)

Trust * Customer Service = Reputation

  • Trust
  • Customer Service
  • Reputation

No, you can't make everyone happy. Yes, there are people who will take advantage. But there are two questions at the heart of this:

  • How do you want to do business, i.e., personal integrity
  • What do you want your reputation to be, i.e., positive or negative word-of-mouth

Lack of Empathy Dooms People and Organizations

  • The most astounding fact of the matter is that this behavior is completely unnecessary.
  • Lack of empathy
  • So much room between policy and law, and good business practices and how to treat a customer