I recently purchased a Kamado Joe Classic I charcoal grill. These grills are called egg grills because of their shape.
The deal had been too good to pass up. It was almost half off the original price. I placed the order, the item arrived, and Pamela and I assembled the grill.
A few days later, I got a notification that the price on the grill decreased by another $50. I reached out to Walmart Customer Support and asked for a refund of the price difference. What happened next shocked me.
The customer service representative (who was very nice) told me that they couldn’t make a price adjustment. What they could do was have me send back the Kamado Joe that had already been delivered at Walmart’s expense via a freight delivery company. I could then reorder the Kamado Joe at the lower price.
This didn’t make sense. Walmart would have to send out a freight company to retrieve the 200-pound grill. The shipping on that would exceed the price adjustment. The customer service representative told me she knew this, but it was customer policy not to adjust prices on items ordered on walmart.com.
Company policies can either help your business or hurt your business. This policy of being able to return the egg grill is one that hurts the company. To allow a return on an item that costs more than the asked for refund doesn’t make great business sense.
But… are we like this bad Walmart policy than we think?
Sorry, It’s Company Policy Is Bad Business
We use company policies to wiggle our way out of difficult or uncomfortable situations. We tell our employees, “Sorry, that’s what the handbook says. You’re out of here.” Or we tell customers, “Sorry, we can’t do what you want though it would be an easy thing to do because our company prohibits it.”
Company policies are put into place to safeguard the organization and employees. It gives you and your employees guardrails on what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Yet, when company policies prohibit common-sense accommodations, they become bad business. Sometimes we fall into the trap of using company policies in a way that is bad for business.
The handbook denied the on-time employee who works overtime but needs an emergency day off because of a family emergency. The customer who purchased an expensive product and wants a price adjustment but is denied because of company policy.
The employee becomes jaded. He sees all his hard work as meaningless because of the handbook. The customer feels anger because he has to jump through hoops to get the new price.
Ensure you’re empowering your employees and yourself to do the right thing. In situations like this, I think of the Ritz Carlton and the power of empowerment.
The Ritz Carlton has a way of empowering team members. Each person on their team can use up to $2,000 to serve a guest. Their idea is to serve the customer. Their idea of treating their employees right is to empower the employee.
Instead of tying the hands of your employees, be willing to empower them. Give them the freedom to make wise decisions. If you don’t, you may find that your company policy is bad business.