Sunday, October 22, 2006

Policy vs. Customer Part 2…Customer loses again!

My brother wanted to buy his wife 5 dozen roses for her birthday. He is very busy and frequently out of town. He decided that the easiest method of sending her flowers was to call ProFlowers, an online florist that he has done business with in the past.

He called their 800 number and warned the customer service person that he had had bad service in the past and was giving the company one last chance. She couldn’t find his record and proceeded to take his order.

(WARNING! This next section is going to sound unbelievable but it is EXACTLY what happened!)

He said “I want you to send 5 dozen roses to my wife”
She replied “Sorry Sir, I can only sell you 1 dozen roses”
He: ”What? You won’t sell me 5 dozen roses?”
She: “Sorry, our roses only come in 1 dozen”
He: “Well your website says you have a 2 dozen bouquet”
She “Okay, I can sell you 2 dozen roses”
He: (his patience running extremely thin) “Then sell me TWO 2 dozen bouquets and ONE 1 dozen bouquet. That will add up to five dozen roses”
She: “Well, I will still have to charge you separate shipping on each of these.”

Needless to say he didn’t buy from ProFlowers. He did get a recommendation of a florist, Blossoms, in his neighborhood who was willing and able to sell a five dozen rose bouquet. Even though he ended up spending almost twice as much, he was a VERY happy customer because the experience was easy and the flowers were magnificent.

Every client I share this story with is appalled. Then, I ask them if they have a policy that is similar. The answer is almost always "yes."

Take a long hard look at your policies and get rid of the ones that make it hard to do business with you.

I believe that customers most often care more about EASY than they do about CHEAP.

How can you make it easier for your customer to do business with you?

Laurie Brown, is a professional speaker and author who helps people improve their customer service, sales and presentations skills. For more information on Laurie’s training seminars, books, articles and recordings, please call Laurie at 248.761.7510 or email her at or visit her website

1 comment:

Robert Bradford said...

Policy, of course, is a tool we use in business to avoid thinking. It's often found in situations where companies don't actually want to pay people to think. And, of course, it's STUPID. I love your blog!