Break the Rules for Extreme Growth


By Neal Glatt

Many businesses are too concerned with having employees follow the rules and processes that they set in place.  If you want customer referrals, record sales, and industry-leading profitability, then you need to start breaking the rules.  In fact, every great customer service story involves rule-breaking.

Let me explain.  If you’ve flown somewhere recently, you may have had the experience of being charged for your checked bags.  This has only become a general practice in the past ten years, so it is common to see customers at the airport frustrated that they must pay extra for heavy, checked bags.  When an airline agent says, “I’m sorry, it’s our policy that you must pay an extra $50 for that bag,” people react negatively.  Especially when there is no empathy expressed for the inconvenience.  

What would be a great customer service moment?  If the airline agent said, “Even though these are the rules, I’m going to make an exception for you and your checked bags are free today!”  It takes breaking the rules for customers to feel special.

Some companies have even built their reputations on breaking the perceived rules.  At Southwest Airlines, all passengers receive two free checked bags.  They are breaking the perceived rules of air travel (that checked bags must cost extra) and as a result, enjoy the highest customer satisfaction rating of airlines as reported by J.D. Power.

What else fits this category of rule-breaking and customer satisfaction?  Early and late checkout from hotels.  No change or cancellation fees to travel plans.  Free upgrades.  Gifts.  Handwritten notes.  Discounts.  Follow-up calls.  Extra services.  

Are your people empowered to do more than you are contractually obligated to do for your customers?  Or are they required to follow the rules?  When a customer asks for something a little extra, what is the customer experience they get?  

If you’ve read my blogs for a while, you know that I value Lifetime Customer Value above any other metric.  Here’s the other secret - your people need to be educated about which rules to break.  The more they know about the business, the more they can make smarter decisions and the more you’ll grow as a company.  At GrowTheBench, we’re here to help.

Tags: Growth , Customer , Lifetime Customer Value , Rules , Break ,