In my post from a few days ago, I shared about a blog post by Lynn Terry that was more about lifestyle changes than the hard currency we carry around in our pocket. This is about the hard currency stuff — pennies, in particular.
In a blog post about a recent speaking engagement, Internet Marketing guru Joel Comm wrote about his experience in trying to exchange $75 in paper money for $75 in pennies at Wells Fargo Bank in Henderson, NV. It seems that this particular Wells Fargo bank would make the exchange without the person (Joel’s VP of Sales) having an account at the bank. So he went across the street to a US Bank branch and got the pennies he needed without any hassle. In fact, the US Bank teller seemed to go out of her way to accommodate Joel’s VP of Sales.
Policies vs People
In addition to being rude and pissing off a potential customer (and the wrong person to piss off, this time, for sure), the Wells Fargo employee cited “policy” as the reason she wouldn’t hand over pennies for paper money. It wasn’t the lack of product. The pennies were there. It was “policy”.
One of the hallmarks of a great business, small or large, online or off, is the ability to empower employees to make decisions that will enhance the company’s goodwill and standing in the eyes of customers and potential customers. Sure. Policies are important guidelines and some policies should certainly be set in concrete (I’m thinking about anti-discrimination policies, off the top of my head). However, some policies can be more flexible to meet the overriding mission any company — create happy customers.
It’s important to remember we’re all in this thing together. We’re all human. Just trying to get along from one day to the next. Some days better than the others. There is no reason to make it a bad day for someone else. Hand over the pennies.
Read the blog post — Wells Fargo Bank Doesn’t Want My Business. It’s a good read and an excellent case study.