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When Policy Collides with Best Practice

The Risks of Stagnant Policies

Some business owners ensure company policies transform into daily habits. They want to avoid surprise unpleasantries and believe best practices require ongoing effort, not luck. Read on to see if there are any magical secrets of running a business that will bring you successful rewards whilst maintaining peace of mind with your HouseRules.

The Inciting Incident: A Policy Pitfall

To illustrate where policies and best practices diverge, let me share a recent experience navigating a credit card dispute process.

So, this week  I realised an unresolved credit card dispute.  Following up, the company claimed too much time elapsed, so a complaint could be logged but no further action would take place.

I raised the initial claim which should trigger an email response. Assuming it went to spam, I likely deleted it accidentally, amidst junk mail. 

This prompts examining best practices around communications.

The Basis for Best Practices

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates financial companies, setting rules via statutes. The FCA has general guidance on how to deal with customers when they have a complaint or wish to raise a dispute. Yet it’s good practice for firms to customise procedures to suit their needs while adhering to laws.

The rules passed down from legislation and the guide that the regulatory body offers will give the firm enough autonomy to customize a procedure that best suits the individual firm. 

Yet what looks reasonable on paper may not satisfy real-life clients.

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Bridging the Gap Between Policy and Practice

Being politely persistent until receiving a refund is partly due to knowing fair practices and being able to identify the perceived inadequacies of the service.

Best practice balances company guidelines and regulatory duties since dissatisfied clients can escalate to the Financial Ombudsman. Still, firms ultimately operate in their own interest.

Nonetheless, the last thing any firm wants is someone coming into their business and telling them what to do. And the regulator can do just that! 

Learning Through Feedback

  • The company sent a dispute acknowledgement by email without informing me. For financial entities, clear communication matters greatly.
  •  Unclear or inconsistent communication channels frustrate customers.
  • With rampant spam and scams, smart businesses design interfaces considering client challenges. A single email fails to demonstrate quality engagement. As a service provider, how is it possible to help your clients identify genuine emails? Instead of the focus being centred on the organisation, what will also work well for the customer?  
  • Don’t be petty! The law and regulatory bodies oftentimes look at what is reasonable.  A single email seems inadequate (I admit, I’m biased but show me a customer that isn’t).  
  • Additionally, closing a dispute at a fixed deadline without reminders shows oversight of case management workflows. Regular reviews can catch such capability and training gaps.
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Turning Insights into Action

It’s not magic! With thoughtful organisations can determine if sticking to the status quo makes sense or if fresh approaches merit exploration. Customer disagreement signals opportunities to examine internal practices, deliver staff training, and brainstorm improvements.

While governing bodies have strict rules and consequences for violations, proactive self-assessments promote agility. 

Rather than wait for the regulator to mandate fixes. Review processes proactively and simplify where possible to aid staff and customers. Confirm business habits align with the founding vision and principles.

Targeted fixes generate progress

  • Audit for the policies that may have drifted from today’s needs
  • Pinpoint priority areas needing updated rules 
  • Co-create HouseRules fusing individual growth and shared success.

Create Alignment Through Ongoing Assessment

My call highlighted how even successful teams can overlook gaps affecting client service. Jointly analysing dispute policies and real-world practices uncovers inconsistencies requiring realignment. 

Comparing written directives to actions as they occur informs training needs and process adjustments. This facilitates internal transformations versus reacting to outside interventions later.

Proactively confirming activities match values sustains an ethical business as it evolves. Guidance can get companies back on track through controlled, internal measures versus heavy-handed regulator interventions.

Want to talk more about how we can work together to elevate your company through the implementation of your HouseRules? Be sure to connect and secure your complimentary Sip & Chat session. I’m Cas Johnson, The Ethical Strategist working with business leaders who envision a business of interdependency.

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