I am a big believer in a company utilizing developed policies and procedures for how they do business.
The benefits of having and maintaining a standard policy are numerous. They mitigate risk and keep employees focused on doing things the correct way. They serve as a training guide for new employees and bring structure to company operations. The list of necessary reasons goes on.
When potential customers evaluate our company, it’s not unusual for them to ask about our policies and how we operate. Our customers expect us to have a standard operating procedure in place, just as they have similar policy and procedures at their company. Furthermore, customers should expect the policies at my company will serve to protect them, provide a better product and better service, and a generally overall better customer experience.
Unfortunately, most companies forget to warn their employees of one of the main things to remember when it comes to policy.
Policy is ultimately for the company, and not for the customer.
How often do we as customers hear from a company the words, “that’s our policy,” or the reverse and possibly more dangerous, “that’s not our policy’?
What the customer is really hearing is “things will be done our way, and you will adhere to our policy if you want to be our customer.”
In my professional experience, I can relate numerous times where my company has won new customers, some that became multi-million-dollar contracts, because the customer was tired of hearing previous service providers say those business killing words, “That’s our policy.”
Not to advocate that any company should change their proven policy simply on the whim of a customer. To be clear, there are certain policy requirements that necessitate the company to walk away from a customer. But many times, it’s more about communication. To insinuate it is necessary to draw a line in the sand to maintain policy is self-defeating.
Instead, try offering solutions and gain a better understanding of the customers true needs and wants. Balancing that with internal policy requirements will ultimately serve the goals of both your company and the customer.
Brian T. King is the founder and owner of multiple firms encompassing design, construction, real estate, and manufacturing, and currently president of the integrated Design-Build firm A M King. Brian shares his passion for mentoring young professionals, rising managers and entrepreneurs at speaking engagements around the country, on podcasts and via his blog.