How Company Policy Hurts Customer Service

How Company Policy Hurts Customer Service image DATE: August 27, 2019

Some of the biggest customer service challenges organizations have to deal with are created by their own company policy. Here’s how company policy hurts customer service and what companies can do to avoid these challenges in the first place.

How Company Policy Hurts Customer Service

It may not be intended, but some company policies can be huge stumbling blocks to great customer service. It’s even worse when that policy turns into a crutch to defend poor service and apathetic attitudes. That’s unquestionably when company policy hurts customer service.

Here’s how I described it in “Secret 5” of Willie’s Way: 6 Secrets for Wooing, Wowing and Winning Customers and Their Loyalty:

“…too many service providers almost instinctively throw up the ‘policy perimeter’ saying things like, ‘I would love to help you but our policy says…’ In essence, such statements (and the limited thought process behind them) communicate the following. ‘If we don’t allow you, the customer, to breach our established policies, then we won’t have to use imagination, creativity and customized approaches to help you with your personal service issues. It will be easier for us if you do it our way.'”

Using a line like Dwight Shrute’s “that very well may be against company policy” is no way to deliver great customer service or win customer loyalty.

Looking for more ideas on improving the service you offer customers? Grab a copy of Willie’s Way here.

So how can companies and organizations avoid the customer service challenges company policies can create?

Bend the Rules, Sometimes

A good place to start is to evaluate which rules can and cannot be bent or broken.

First, list the policies and procedures that are never to be breached. These actions would be illegal, immoral, unethical, too risky or too costly. Safety, finances and personnel would be included here.

Then look at rules and practices that have more latitude for independent decision making. Closely consider those that directly impact customers.

“Bending” these rules, sometimes is where smart customer service professionals can use imagination and creativity in hundreds of ways to make customers feel special!

So my question is very simply this. What policies are standing in the way of making your customers happy, excited, looking forward to doing business with you?

Once identified, don’t be afraid to start bending the rules!


If the service performance of your people needs some refining, our service training can help — let’s talk!


#companypolicyhurtscustomerservice #williesway #bendtherulessometimes #dontsaypolicysays

You might also like this: Increase Customer Retention Rates

About The Author:

Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE is committed to helping organizations transform their business outcomes by building engaged employee relationships. He is an award-winning keynote speaker and author on engaged leadership and communication. His most recent book is “Earning The Right To Be Heard," a primer for creating greater influence and opportunities. Connect with Phil on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent Posts