Policies are created to help companies run smoothly, but they can also damage your brand, particularly when they are rigidly enforced on customers.
The common assumption when a person makes a purchase is that they intend to use the item right away. In fact, policy dictates that the person must use the item right away, or the company won’t guarantee the product will function correctly. This is an extremely common policy, yet it’s out of touch with reality. People often purchase something they think they will need down the road.
Say they open the item a year after purchase, and a wire is frayed right out of the box. What do you do? Policy says you tell the customer they are just out of luck, but that’s a good way to squander opportunity. If you help them fix it or replace it with a functioning product, you’ll gain their loyalty, but if you cite policy, you lose them forever.
It gets worse though, because while you are citing policy instead of taking care of the customers, people are looking for someone better. That’s the result of thinking small. You are creating opportunity for competition. If that’s your goal, keep reciting policy.
If gaining customer loyalty is your goal, flexibility, logic, and discretion in the application of policies is the smarter play. If management hasn’t given you the slack to utilize such an approach, they’ve opened an opportunity for you to move up.