It's Company Policy

I hate Nike. I can’t believe I have just spent $500 on their kit. I shall never again be buying their rubbish. Nike sucks.

They own Cole Haan. I recently went into their Columbus Circle store in Midtown New York. I left with two pairs of shoes that will be my last from them. To say I have had seriously unsettling post-purchase regret (dissonance, in the marketing jargon I seem to recall) is an understatement.

I did like them when trying on. One a coloured pair of brogues, the others, I saw as replacements for my worn out Cape Town Karoo-style Vellies (Desert Boots).

The coloured ones had distinctive laces. The kind you couldn’t easily buy again should these lot fail. Even when buying Oxfords in England online, I recently received a spare set of laces.

In-store, there were goldfish bowls brimming with spare sets. You spend $500 on shoes and ask for a spare set of laces. What do you think the Nike, Cole Haan response is.

We can’t give you them. it’s Company Policy.

An utter disgrace. They have now lost a one-time heavily-spending customer for life. All for the cost of one set of laces. They should be ashamed of themselves. But probably aren’t.

Off to Adidas or Puma or Asics or Reebok or Salomon I go for my next trainers. And only proper English cobblers for normal shoes from now on.

I remember a long time ago, a wonderful chap called Dennis. He ran a happy retail empire of baby supply stores. Some customers would bring back prams after their child grew out of them and expect their money back. The cheek. So he created a Company Policy. He typed it up. And laminated it. When confronted with such a sneaky customer, he pulled out the shiny sheet. In nearly all cases, the request went away. Yet the customer was not as disappointed as previously people trying it on had appeared. Because they now saw the Policy.

It was a masterstroke.

This was not the Nike way.

It was all ‘head office’ blah ‘corporate decision’ blah ‘I could ask the manager’ blah. I know I should have left the shoes at the counter…

In all other instances I can recall, to answer ‘company policy’ in the light of anything, simply means “I don’t care about you or your custom”. Every single time.

If you find yourself thinking of any part of your sales process, or customer service in general, where this can occur, may I suggest you re-think it. Sharpish.

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jamie@example.com
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