You Gotta Make Sense

These things happen to all of us. We all have stories of when “policy” supersedes common sense.

Here’s a good one I heard a few years ago.

I took my I-Phone to Verizon one day because there was something wrong with the software and I wanted to get it fixed. The clerk checked to make sure I had the insurance, then she took my phone from me and smashed it against the counter and then made out the paperwork so she could hand me a new phone. As I looked on stunned, she explained that if there is something wrong with the software, they had to send the phone in, and it would take weeks to get it back. But the insurance I was paying for everyone month covered and provided for immediate replacement if the phone was damaged in any way.”

Don’t things like this drive you crazy?

As a sufferer from OCD when it comes to being on time, I want to be rewarded for being early. I hate standing in lines. I hate it so much that I have been known to get to the airport at four in the morning for a seven o’clock flight just so I won’t have to stand in the ticket line or worse yet the TSA line. So, it drives me crazy when they are not open yet. They told me to be there early, why? So, I can wait around for them to show up?

How about these gems? “Oh, you couldn’t find the location of our store. That’s funny everybody says that.”

Or “Sorry you can’t walk up and order at our drive through window, it’s only for cars.” Even when the lobby is closed because of Covid?

This is one of my personal favorites from our own industry. And yes, this is true. “Sorry you had to return the boards because they were unacceptable. It’ll take us four weeks to place them because our policy is to put them after all the other boards we have to deliver.” Yikes!

The airlines of course are masters in the illogical one-sided policies Starting with their ridiculous zone boarding policies. Going back to my OCD again I hate not being the first one on a plane. That’s why I used to love knowing that if you order a seat in the back on the plane (coach of course) you got to go on first. Now with the zoning thing it makes no sense to me. But it does to the airlines who now will let you be in the earlier zones for a small fee.

Or if you have gone to the trouble and expense of buying a first class ticket and you still don’t get on first because of the people who need extra time rule. I once saw a woman with a walking cast get on with twelve teenagers because of that stupid rule. And to add to that. If you were so hampered to be allowed to board even before first class passengers, then you are too hampered to get off first. I have seen hundred year old ladies who needed a wheelchair to get on, fight to run off the plane once we landed!

Anyway, airlines are just too easy, I could write a book about the stupidity of airline policies.

But by now you should get the point that to run a good business or organization you have to put common sense over policy. You have to put the customers over your own company. You are in business to serve your customers in the best way that you can. Sorry Milton Friedman, but your theory that companies are in business to make money for their shareholders is as dead as you are. The companies that do that tend to be the worst companies to deal with and they are the ones who are in deep trouble now.

If you are going to run any business successfully these days, you have to put the customers first. You have to dump those self-serving internally focused policies that make everyone hate you. 

In our own industry where we actually serve at the pleasure of our customers this is more important than ever. No matter how sophisticated our technology becomes, we are still in business to build our customers’ products, exactly the way they want them, in the quantities they want them delivered, and exactly when they want them delivered.

We are in the problem solving business. Our job is to make our customer’s lives as easy as possible. Which means there is no room for stupid polices like the one that punishes them for rejecting and returning boards by  making them wait too long for the replacements. It’s only common sense.