Are Your Policies Customer-Focused or Profit-Focused?


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Last week I tried to get a replacement part for my stationary bike. One of the end caps from the handle bars had cracked and needed to be replaced.

First, I called the local store. They didn’t have any and instructed me to call their central service department number.

The service department indicated that because the bike was not a current model, I needed to get the part from the US manufacturer – Vision Fitness. They provided the hotline number.

I called the Hotline and sat on hold for 15-20 minutes before getting a live person. They were very helpful and indicated that the replacement part would cost $0.78 USD. They proceeded to get my mailing address for shipment.

They then indicated that it would be mailed at a cost of $10.00 USD.

When I asked why a $0.78 plastic part was going to cost $10.00 to ship I was told “that’s our minimum shipment cost”. The cost didn’t reflect the weight — it was a minimum charge for them to send out any part.

I had already invested thousands of dollars to purchase their machine. I guess the figured they already had my money and what was the likelyhood of me purchasing a second stationary bike.

Well the part wasn’t that critical and I had already spent too much time on the issue, so I decided to forget about it and just live with a cracked end cap.

What initially seemed like a minor issue was no longer worth the trouble.

My Perspective: A customer-focused organization anticipates situations like this and would simply offer to put a part like this in the mail. The fact that they have a minimum charge indicates that their first concern is their own profitability — not the customer. They will only make the customer happy if it first serves their profit motive.

We should ask ourselves whether our policies are addressing our employees and customers needs — or simply acting as barrier to providing exceptional customer service.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Hogg
Bill Hogg works with senior leaders to inspire and develop high performance, customer-focused teams that deliver exceptional customer service, higher productivity and improved profits. Sought after internationally as a speaker and consultant, Bill is recognized as the Performance Excelerator because of his uncanny ability to create profound change and deliver extraordinary results with the most demanding organizations.


  1. Hi Bill

    Tough luck with the cracked cap. It contrasts nicely with Bose’e excellent customer service.

    My son, who has a pair of in-ear Bose earphones, managed to lose one of the silicon ear buds. After a quick call to Bose Customer Service, a replacement pair of ear buds was on the way, with no charge at all.

    Barnstorming products plus great aftersales care = very happy customers plus many other purchases.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.


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