Colin discovers the antidote to "It's against company policy."
Customers can become very aggravated when told, "It's against company policy." It can feel like a fob-off and make them want to speak to a higher authority. Especially when they ask, "What is the policy?" and all they get back is a shrug or an "I'm not sure." As this article explains, there is a better way.
"We don't offer compensation for taking time off work; it's against company policy," said Colin.
Mrs Jones wasn't about to let him get away with that.
"Don't you preach company policy to me. I want to speak to the person who wrote that stupid policy NOW!"
Colin needed to find a better way to communicate with customers.
"It's against company policy" made him sound like a jobsworth.
It was a habit phrase he'd picked up from others.
In truth, he didn't know in detail the company policy regarding compensation and hadn't a clue who had written it. (If indeed it existed in writing)
Then he attended How to control your elephant, where he discovered this.
- Make sure that you know exactly what your company’s policy is regarding things like compensation.
- When communicating policy to customers, don’t say, "It's company policy"; instead, say, "The approach we take is…."
- Tell the customer what that approach is and, if necessary, why.
- Then tell them what you can do. (If there is anything you can do)
- Adding more information makes you more confident and professional, and the customer is way less likely to argue with you.
Colin thought for a while and realised that when he said, "It's against company policy". He never felt the need to offer any further explanation.
But when he thought about saying, "The approach we take is…..", it sounded so much better and forced him to add more information.
He used to say things like: "We don't offer compensation; it's against company policy,"
Now he says,
"We won't offer compensation for you having to take time off work while we visit your home to undertake warranty work. Our approach to customer service is explained in our customer documentation and website. We only make home visits between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, unless there is an emergency. I can send copies of the documentation if you've misplaced them. As your work is non-emergency, we can be flexible regarding your appointment date and time to enable you to arrange for someone to be here when we arrive”.
In How to control your elephant, we look at many other words and phrases to avoid and practical techniques to help you remain confident, professional, caring, and empathic in a world where customers are becoming less tolerant.
"I'd just like to thank you for conducting the How to control your elephant course yesterday. There was a real buzz of excitement from the team at having these new tools, which will allow them to effectively and confidently deal with our customers. It was a day well spent by all of us." Peter Hoskins - Customer Service Director Crest Nicholson South WestGet in touch