We went to a pizza restaurant the other night and ordered red onions as one of our toppings. The server promptly replied, “Sorry, we don’t have red onions.”

This was quite baffling – because upon closer examination of the menu, this restaurant offered a salad that did have red onions. So while we could get red onions on our salad, we couldn’t on our pizza.

Go figure.

The troubling thing is that several weeks later, this same situation happened once again – this time at a different Chicago pizzeria. Red onions were available on the salad, but not on the pizza.

Don’t let policies trump people

The problem here is that policy was getting in the way of customer service. They had red onions in the kitchen, but because they weren’t listed as a topping on the menu, they wouldn’t put them on our pizza. The managers and employees were letting the menu dictate their willingness to serve us, as opposed to doing what was best for the customer.

Of course – policies and rules can be helpful. But when they prohibit your team from taking care of your customers, it’s time to make a change. Policies must never trump people.

Are your policies designed with the best interests of your customers in mind? Or are they simply there to make things easier for your company and your workforce?

Perhaps most importantly, when your customers have a need, are you willing to break your policies and throw a few red onions on their pizza?