Your Internal Policies versus Customers Needs Can Do You In

This is one of those blogs that is not lacking for examples.  Each of us could write pages on our experiences with this topic, but allow me to make a point for your consideration.

I was recently in a NYC restaurant having brunch.  Brunch orders included coffee or tea.  I asked if I might have Iced Tea.  The waiter said, “No, that’s not how we offer brunch.”  I then asked, “May I then have a glass of ice with my hot tea?”.  He said “sure”.  Okay this doesn’t need explaining.  What disservice did he do to his tip and the repeat business of the restaurant?

Here’s another example:   I booked a roundtrip flight to the U.K. this week.  I noticed that my return is the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year.  UAL provided a 90 minute connect time.  With clearing customers and getting back into a ten mile long security line upon arrival, I was certain this was not ample time to make the flight.  I called UAL elite desk.

First Rosa scolded me for not immediately providing my confirmation number, which she should have had on her screen as she told me she had my information in front of her.  Then I was on hold for 30 minutes because she said the computer “was charging me three cents for the change fee” which she was trying to waive.  When she finally came back on the line, I told her to charge me the darn three cents as my time was more valuable than that. Her supervisor was working with her endlessly because they felt their policy was not to charge an elite passenger for such a change.  But apparently it was okay to keep me waiting for half an hour.

Both of these businesses have massive amounts of competition.  They are commodities in today’s world.  What they sell can be bought elsewhere.  I always remind our clients, it’s not WHAT YOU SELL, BUT rather HOW YOU SELL.  Both of these examples failed in the “how” category – the key opportunity to differentiate and/or impress their customers.


We all know that customers are more likely to simply leave rather than proactively offer you the negative feedback.

  • Do any of your internal policies or the perceptions of your employees get in the way of serving customers needs?
  • How do you know if a simple need is not being filled for want of a “policy”?  Solicit this information every chance you get.
  • What experiences have you had, as a consumer, that makes this blog hit home?


What internal policy would you have to fix to become more customer friendly  and/or what buying experience have you had where policy got in the way of you doing business with a company?

Respond in the ‘Comment Section’ below to share your experiences with us and be featured in our next newsletter!

  • e.g.  ADT wouldn’t send a repair person to my house without first sending a sales person which delayed my ability to get prompt service.  I had no need for the sales guy.

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