Policies are only as good as the leadership that demonstrates them daily. – Lilianna Kovacevic

Organisations in which leaders continuously fail to uphold a united front through demonstrated action and by this I mean stand united in their decision making processes as opposed to voicing their personal biases, will struggle to gain their employees trust.

What does bring strong employee engagement (buy-in) is demonstrated alignment amongst the leadership team through one united voice and consistent language, instead of leadership teams continuously putting each other on the chopping block (dog eat dog mentality).

This kind of approach lacks credibility and influence to bring their employees on board their change initiatives which are supposedly there to better service the customers and the business holistically.

What leaders amid organisations need to realise is that they are representing a company and the company’s ethos and therefore leaders need to park their egos aside and focus on the bigger picture which does not concern their individual biases, especially if they are not in alignment with the company values.

Pushing the consumer privacy boundaries

Not one to shy away from getting value for money, I put the top 5 car insurance providers to the test last week. What dawned on me was the amount of information (PERSONAL information) these insurers were demanding before we even got to any questions about the car (yes I made it clear I was shopping around for the best deal) not signing my life away….just yet.

What struck me was the deliberate misleading by Youi insurance which started with Get a quote now on their website. I never got a quote…instead I got a reply saying thank you for your enquiry, one of our representatives will be in contact with you shortly.

The next day a Youi representative rang me and proceeded with an alarming number of personal questions, which in my mind were invasive and inappropriately pitched so say the least. Thirty minutes into the quotation and after just about giving away my entire life story, I finally got the ball park figure for the insurance premium, which was less than desirable.

I felt as though I walked away with nothing and the insurance provider walked away with all this personal information about me. Sure there are privacy laws in Australia, but where’s the guarantee I won’t be contacted in the future, by this insurance provider, even though I’d asked them to destroy all my personal information.

This experience forced me reassess future dealings with service providers and the level of control I have in disclosing my personal information. Namely, a reminder to thyself that I have the power to divulge the level of information I am comfortable with and not the other way around. Service providers can request all the information in the world but it’s up to the consumers to draw the line in the sand and say no if they feel the questions are plainly inappropriate or unwarranted.

Do you feel like your privacy boundaries have been pushed by service providers beyond your comfort? How have you dealt with the situation?

It might be your company policy….but hang on a second!

I wanted to share this story with you all as I was completely shocked by the customer experience at my local Bunnings Warehouse.

There I was having a wonderful time choosing my lemon and lime trees, including potting mixture to plant my citrus trees in the gorgeous pots my mother bought me a couple of days earlier.  I proceeded to the register and the cashier started counting the bags of potting mix on our trolley.  He said that would be x amount.  As he passed me the receipt I had a quick glance and noticed that I was overcharged by one bag of potting mix.  Ok its not much money and sure it may have been an honest mistake.  So I politely said to the cashier, excuse me, but you have overcharged me by $11.  To his credit the cashier apologised but didn’t know how to fix his mistake on the till.  His co-worker steps in as says to me “our new policy is that any refunds are dealt with by way of a store credit”.  We will have to issue you a store credit.

Here we go I thought to myself…..and responded with “mate, lets get our terminology right.  For starters, this is not a return, I’m not returning anything, your colleague overcharged me”!  He proceeds with…I can appreciate that but there is nothing we can do, its the new company policy.  Ok I’ll admit now I was starting to get a little irritable and said ”listen mate, since when does Bunnings dictate how I spend my money?  The cashier may have made an honest mistake but you do not punish the customer for this.  You took my money and now I want it back!  He kept going back to calling it a refund and yes I blew my fuse and said “now you are really pissing me off and here’s my policy, either you refund me the money asap or I ‘m not leaving until you do so.  No sooner did I say this a woman comes to the rescue and says to me….’the problem is that staff have not been trained to rectify over charging clients”. I politely said to the lady, well someone has certainly trained them to say the wrong thing to the customer, because they were convinced that it was store policy to treat over charging as a refund by way of a store gift card.  Either way I wasn’t going to go into the politics of it all but I did walk away with my money!

The moral of my story, look out of these so called company policies and challenge them, especially if they involve you being taken advantage of.  An honest mistake is just that, but when you know what’s happening is just not right (or even against the law), challenge it to the end!