Your Goodwill Has Expired

Ron Kaufman

Visitors: 143

Alice’s prepaid telephone calling card said ‘Expires August 31, 2001’ on the back.

She decided to use the remaining value of the card at 8:00 pm on August 31.

Unfortunately, the card had already been terminated when she tried to make a call. There was no value remaining. She held a worthless piece of plastic.

The telephone company had terminated her phone card’s value on the very first minute of the listed expiration date (12:01 am), rather than the very last minute as Alice had expected (11:59 pm).

The company may be technically right, but commercially they are dead wrong.

When you see an expiration date, don’t you assume the product is valid until the end of that date? Isn’t that how your credit card works? Isn’t that how a food expiration date works? Isn’t that how your telephone calling card should work, too?

Key Learning Point

When setting policies and procedures, make every effort to see the world from your customer's point of view. Make their view, your view.

Action Steps

Carefully review all recent customer complaints. Look for cases where customers complain that your policies are too narrow, your processes too slow or your procedures too bureaucratic. Revisit the source of these complaints. Is there another way to see the situation? Do your customers have a point you should consider? Start making changes. Keep on improving until their views and your views are aligned.

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling “UP Your Service!" and founder of “UP Your Service College". Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store . You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at .


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