“Because That’s Our Policy” – Does Your Company Ever Say That?


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Other than “Go to hell,” these four words perhaps do more damage to customer relationships than any other phrase used in customer service. Customer relationship over, more often that not. Yet we still hear these words all the time.

Prime example, I flipped out when an offshore HP customer service rep read from a script, telling my I had to agree to a $59.99 charge whether they solved the problem with their own hardware or not. And sure enough, they couldn’t solve the problem – partly because the tech had zero training in the malfunctioning equipment. But a former HP exec is active in a Linkedin group I belong to, so I passed along the issue and my reaction. Using her contacts, she started a bit of a ruckus internally at HP, which culminated in a call from their Director of something (in addition to a call from a caseworker talling me they were reversing the charge).

How did this woman solve this festering problem that was now ricocheting acrosss the web? She uttered the four magic words, “Because that’s our policy.” Actually she threw in ” new,” makling it five words. Relationship over.

Does your organization ever say these words? Companies allowing/encouraging such utterances have a far greater problem than rep training. Every time they say this phrase they’re admitting to being an “inside-out” company that puts company ahead of customer. Fortunately, enough companies have gone Outside-In or are getting there so customers can leave companies like HP and find more respectful and considerate sellers.


  1. Dick: I’ve heard the “not our policy” line many times before. It’s both appalling and amazing that a manager would write this response into a script–let alone allow its use in a call center.

    Many companies spend significant money on monitoring or recording customer calls. Does anyone take the time to listen to them and to count the number of times a customer accepts that “explanation” without pain?

    But here’s a simple way to avoid the problem. On the top of the planning room white board, write this question in big letters: “How will my communication be perceived?” If the goal is minimally to “satisfy the customer,” you’ll never year “because it’s our policy” again.


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