Last week, my brother-in-law spoke at the Hagerstown Rotary Club meeting. His topic was "Business Policy is Personal." Although I did not hear his presentation, I asked for a copy of his talking points so that I might incorporate some of his thoughts in this column.
His opening for the presentation went something like this: "Business policy is personal because policy affects many people at many levels within and outside the organization; for example, leaders, managers, employees, customers, partners, competitors and such."
For the sake of this column, I'll broaden the concept of policy to include rules and procedures, yet not laws. Laws in this context are rigid; policy, rules and procedures speak to some degree of flexibility. It is this flexibility that I want to address.
Also, let me broaden the scope of policy to include government policy as well as business policy. All citizens of a governmental jurisdiction are customers of that government just like the users or buyers of goods and/or services are customers of a business. Which brings me to this statement: "Government and business policy affects customer service on a personal basis."
Let me use a couple of instances to illustrate how policy can be personal when it comes to customer service.
A couple of years ago, I went to a local golf course to play with my regular group. That day, I wore a shirt with no visible collar. The golf pro approached me and said that it was the course's policy not to allow golfers to play in shirts without a collar. As the pro approached, the first thing I noticed — even before he said a word — was that he was carrying three golf shirts with collars. After he explained the course policy, he went on to ask me to pick one of the shirts in his hand, pointed me to the locker room to change and then said, "Have a great round."