Imagine the shock. You look at your cable bill and find a charge of $70 for a pay-per-view event you never bought.
I called Verizon to complain. After a twenty-minute phone call, they completed their investigation.
“Sir, it appears you ordered the show from your remote,” he said.
I guess one of my kids bought it by accident. It serves us right. We should have set up parental controls, right?
I explained to the nice man on the phone that my son bought it by accident. We never watched it.
“You can verify from your records we never actually watched it, right?”
“Let me check with my supervisor and see what we can do.”
He got back on the phone a few minutes later and broke the bad news. They would NOT remove the charge. It didn’t matter if we watched it or not.
We argued back and forth for a few minutes and he said he would try to talk to his supervisor again. He promised to call back by the end of the day. Of course, he never did.
I can’t really blame them. This was my own fault. I was frustrated but not angry.
Here’s Where They Lost Me
After telling me they couldn’t remove the charge, he then tried to sell me on a faster internet connection.
He recognized my agitated state. My voice and words gave it away. Did he really expect me to spend more money after telling me they would not refund me? I doubt it. Then why go ahead with a cheesy sales pitch?
Simple. It’s their policy. He had no choice. Given discretion, he probably would have thought better of working in a sale.
Policy Trumps Judgment
His ill-timed sales push irked me. Now I’m thinking:
“How do I get back at these guys? How can I recover my $70… and then some?”
It turns out I have a few add-on subscriptions. I’ve been meaning to cancel these for months. Now motivation kicks in.
Canceling these add-ons saves me $17 per month. With fifteen months left on my contract, that’s a savings of $255. Subtract the $70 and I walk away with $185. Rather, Verizon loses $185. That gives me emotional gratification.
My response may lack logical justification. Let’s face it. We’re emotional creatures. We don’t act on logic. I’ll figure out a logical way to defend it later.
This experience reminds me why bigger companies face disadvantages against smaller rivals. They’re too rigid in their rules. They don’t trust their people to use their own brains.
This is what happened in the United Airlines debacle a few months ago. They forbade employees from exercising judgment. They couldn’t offer additional money to get someone to give up their seat. You can’t write a policy to cover every scenario.
As a smaller fish competing against bigger agencies, I know there is one advantage I can always exploit. I never let Policy get in the way of good judgment.Read More →