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.