Every day we encounter case after case that require straightforward resolutions. But every [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Image courtesy of Mattes

Image courtesy of Mattes

once in a while, a more convoluted case will pop up that pits our company policies against our agents’ representations. What should we do then? Do we stand by our policies or the representations made by our agents? What is in the best interest of our companies?

Let’s look at a case involving this very dilemma. Chris is a member of a loyalty program that is tied to his purchases. If his annual purchases reach certain levels, his customer status can obtain certain perks like free gifts or waived fees for certain upgrades. Chris was concerned that his purchases this past year would not push him across the goal line for these benefits he’s come to count on for the last 5 years. Thus, Chris called customer support to find out what kind of purchases he’d need to make in order to maintain his rewards status. The representative he spoke with reviewed his account and assured him that his pending order was sufficient to renew his rewards status for the next year. Relieved, Chris looked forward to another year of being a “preferred customer”.

However, Chris decided to call customer service again a few weeks later to confirm that his exchange of some items would not jeopardize his status. This second representative also reviewed his account and again assured him that his rewards status would still be protected with his updated order. So imagine Chris’ surprise when his end of year loyalty program email arrived, informing him that he had not qualified for his rewards status. Irate, he called in to point out the discrepancy between what he was told and what actually happened with his status. The representative was stuck between a rock and a hard place: Chris was repeatedly told that he would qualify to maintain his status but his purchases did not actually qualify him for that status under the policies for the program.

In a situation like this, what is the right thing to do? Should the representative stick to the policy or to what the previous representatives assured Chris? There is of course the fact that it’s reasonable for a customer to rely on a representation made by an agent of a company. Especially one that may affect the customer financially. But more importantly, there’s the issue of valuing the customer (especially one as loyal as Chris) more than policy. In both the short and long term, siding with the customer is the right thing to do. It will instantly pacify the customer and prevent him from feeling misled or cheated by the company. Long term, it will improve the company because it will become a teaching moment for staff. Improving training and clarifying policies will prevent a repeat scenario down the road, keeping everyone happy.

Remembering to side with the customer in order to protect their relationship with the company is a valuable guiding principle when trying to sort out seemingly complex customer service dilemmas. It is a policy that trumps all others.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]