Why Companies Create Stupid Policies


I was scheduled to meet a client last week. Unfortunately, the client had to cancel after I booked my flight. I had no other business in San Francisco at the time, so I needed to cancel the flight. Shit happens right? No big deal!

Fast forward a week. I’m planning a trip to Boston, so I decide to use my canceled ticket. No problem says United says, you just need to pay a $200 change fee. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS??!! The ticket only cost $390. That’s a 50% premium just to take a different flight. Two hundred dollars to change a $390 dollar ticket is offensive–period!

This got me wondering, is the change fee $200 if the original fare is less than $200? If it is, it’s no longer a change fee they’ve taken you’re money. BTW, the change fee doesn’t take into consideration the difference in fare. It’s pathetic!

So, why do companies make stupid policies like this? These policies CLEARLY aren’t aimed at customer service. They in no way enhance the customer experience. They don’t increase the value of the offering. They don’t create a competitive differentiator. Policies like this provide NO intrinsic or measurable customer value. So, why do companies create stupid policies like this? They do it because they lack the creativity and innovation to come up with policies that improve revenue and profit while AT THE SAME TIME enhancing the customer experience.

Policies like these are put in place because the company is struggling, revenue is declining, profits are shrinking, etc. The company is suffering some sort of financial hardship and they are looking for ways to turn things around.

Great motive, wrong solution.

Here is the problem, rather than come up with innovative ideas that focus on the customer, they default to unimaginative, uninventive, solutions that only benefit them. They lack the creative thinking and complex problem solving skills required to establish policies necessary to meet their revenue challenges AND deliver a better customer experience.

I get it! Operating a sustainable business is the goal of all businesses,and that means delivering a profit. That being said, the best companies do this by improving customer value and the customer experience, not by degrading it. Shitty companies, those lacking in creativity and innovation take the easy route, ignoring the customer.

If you or your company is unable to solve your revenue challenges without screwing your customers, you have a management and people problem. If that’s the case, don’t take your people problem out on your customers. It’s not our fault you can’t get your shit together.

Here’s the golden rule, if it doesn’t increase customer value, if it doesn’t improve the customer experience, it’s a bad idea.

Bad ideas, never turn out well!