Here we go again; this is the third trip to the big box with this new laptop that keeps messing up!

This time Shawna who bought the laptop, her husband Jason, Gwen and I approach the customer service counter.

Just to keep you up to speed, this new laptop has crashed and lost several months worth of accounting, collage work and caused Shawna to not complete her current class work. Tough enough working full time and raising two boys, then losing all your class work!

I wonder what your expectations would be? How would your company handle this?

So Shawna starts the conversation with the customer service person who says……

Yep it’s the word, read on to find the outcome……..

“Ok, our POLICY says you have to go through customer service first rather than repair service, I’ll get someone over there for you.” Says Bob.

More waiting in line and Laura ask how she can help.
Shawna explains when they bought the computer, how many times they have brought it in and has documented the issues in detail that have occurred.

Laura looks over the notes and looks on her store computer for the service files.

“Well our POLICY is the computer has to have service work done 3 times and have a component replaced before we can replace or refund the unit!” States Laura.

“Our records only show one time that it has been in for service, so there is nothing we can do.” Is Laura’s next statement.

“Wait a minute, here is the shipping receipts for each time it has been sent to you.” Exclaims Shawna. “I live 100 miles from here and have to have it sent by courier each time. What do you mean it’s only been here once!”

“Well if it was sent, there is no record of it so you have not met the POLICY so we cannot do anything for you other than run it through service.” Responded Laura.

At this point I stepped forward and asked who else is available that can override the POLICY?

“I’ll get someone from service to look at this quickly and see if there is anything they can do.” Was Laura’s solution.
Here comes Bob from service, the first guy we talked to.

Shawna once more gave him an overview of what had transpired since the purchase. I explained my five hours of reformatting and reinstalling all the software and resetting everything only to have it crash the next day and lose everything I had done.
Bob turned the computer on and guess what! It crashed right there!

It went through several errors trying to boot up and again lost everything we had added!

“Yes there is a problem.” Says Bob. “The problem is most likely software rather than hardware. Our warranty POLICY only covers the hardware.”

“Ok Bob, let me understand this. Shawna purchases a new unit from you in good faith. It comes loaded with software from Gateway and Microsoft, she purchases an extended warranty with the understanding Best Buy will assist in service no matter what. Now you’re telling us that no matter what she bought, or was lead to believe, you will only cover hardware and software is not covered under any circumstances?” was my question.

“Yes that is the POLICY, we only cover the hardware and will only refund or replace when it has been serviced 3 times and has had a component replaced.” Bob regurgitated once more.

We’ve been in Best Buy for 45 minutes now and my high D is about to take over my entire body, seize Bob by the throat and squeeze until his eyes pop! Yet my brain resists and backs me off.

Jason has been quiet until now and asks what does this really mean?

“Here is how this would work in your body shop business. Bob here brings in his dented fender to fix and paint. You straighten the metal which is covered under #1 POLICY and warranty. The primer and body work you do is covered under POLICY #2 and the Paint you put on is covered under POLICY and warranty #3. That means Bob has to deal with 3 different people to get that paint bubble fixed that showed up a month later.” Was my explanation.

Jason rolled his eyes and shook his head in disbelief. “I’d be out of business in a couple of months with that kind of approach to my customers!”

Back to Bob, “Ok, we have heard about your POLICY, we have heard what you cannot do; we have explained to you what this has cost us in time and aggravation and Shawna’s situation. What we have not heard is a solution. What is your solution?” I asked.

“Here is what I will do. We will run this through a full diagnostic which will take 48 hours. I will also note this is the third time it has been in the service center so we cover the POLICY requirements. This will all be done as a priority. If we find a hardware problem it will be replaced. If not there is nothing we can do as it is a software problem and the POLICY does not allow us to cover it.” Bob responds.

We’ll stop here as I believe the point is made!

POLICY is not what any customer wants to hear. They want a solution to their problem and feel like someone cares.
Yes companies need POLICIES to help guide employees and establish guide lines.

The problem as I see it is most POLICIES are established because someone messed up, used poor judgment or management just did not want to deal with it effectively.

I would encourage you to review and evaluate your company’s policies.
· Why are they in place?
· What caused this policy in the first place?
· How does it affect your customer?
· Does it allow your people to do their job effectively?
· If this policy was not in place what would be the outcome?

Because of this experience with Best Buy, Gateway and Microsoft Vista, there are 4 people who have a very different opinion of them and their products. Now we can include you as well!

Would I recommend Best Buy?

What do you think?

Persuasion and Influence are about understanding people. Bob and Laura have been trained to use POLICY as a reason (excuse) to reduce costs rather than produce solutions and positive results.

By my calculations this issue has cost everyone involved, including Best Buy about 30 hours of time! This is over a POLICY and a purchase of $1200.00. At this writing it is still not resolved.

How would you and your company resolve this?

Till next week, keep the eyes and ears open to gain the insight!
Harlan Goerger, National Director of Training

©Harlan Goerger 12-2007
Permission to share as long as source is included.

Harlan Goerger

Author's Bio: 

With 25 years in the training business Harlan is the author of The Selling Gap, President of H Goerger & Associates and Dirctor of Business Architects. He specilizes in training and coaching sales, management and leadership skills. Get the book at or check out for more info.