Guidelines, not policies

Can you recall how many times have you heard the ‘its our policy,’ or ‘it’s against our policy’ (or a variant thereof) comeback? Countless times I’m sure. And if you’re like me you can’t help but feel your blood boil each time your hear it.

Of course, it makes me wonder if it has ever occurred to these ‘policy makers’ that the whole idea sounds self-serving to their clients and customers. It should, because it is. It’s easier to claim being a customer-oriented company than act like one.

I know that sounds bitter but it is what it is. Policies are designed to protect organizations from loss and/or law suits. But if organizations are serious about their relationships with customers they will have to rethink about their policies. Perhaps even consider eliminating them altogether! Here’s why — breaking a policy is a violation but you can’t break a guideline. They’re flexible, considerate and highly individualized to the customers needs.

The idea of swapping out policies for guidelines (all things remaining the same) is liberating. Yes, the big conglomerates can’t afford to do this but the small and medium businesses can surely can. In fact, they should if growth is one of their aspirations. I don’t think ignoring this piece is an option.

And while we’re at it, I have a simple guideline when someone (a representative of a company) slaps me the ‘it’s our policy,’ comeback — stop doing business with them. Because if they cared enough they would listen and do what’s in the best interest of a customer.

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