A couple of months ago when I became manager of a video rental store, I asked for and received a ton of good advice from you people about what I could do to increase business at the store. I’ve implemented a lot of your suggestions, and I can proudly say that business is doing very nicely. In June our sales were up 30% compared to the same month last year!
Lately I’ve run into a snag, and I need to turn to you again for advice. Recently a woman pulled a scam on our store. She signed up for a new membership, rented ten movies, then ran off with them. Apparently she gave us a fake phone number, ignored our letters, and didn’t have enough money on the credit card she opened the account with to pay for the movies. As is our policy, after three weeks of this with no contact with her, we sent her to collections for the amount she owed us.
Seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill problem for a video store, right? I mean, it’s not that unusual that people give us bad phone numbers and don’t return the movies. It just goes with the territory. But apparently this was the final straw for the owners of the store, and they decided to implement two new policies:
we are now supposed to call new member’s phone numbers to ensure that they are valid.
we are now supposed to take customer’s social security numbers when they sign up.
I feel extremely uncomfortable with both of these policies, as do all of my employees. We already take people’s address, phone number, driver’s license number, and credit card number – taking the social security number just seems like too much. If all that information fell into the wrong hands, a lot of damage could be done. If a video rental asked for my social security number and credit card number, I’d think twice about signing up.
As for the phone thing, what kind of impression does that give if we’re calling up to check on people?? If possible, we’re supposed to call while the customer is still in the store, not while they’re standing in front of us, but while they’re looking around. What are we supposed to say when someone picks up the phone? What if someone gives us their cell phone number, and they answer while they’re still in the store – are we supposed to just wave to them from the counter??
I’ve already told the boss that we’re all very uncomfortable with these ideas, but he stands firm on them. What is your opinion of this, and what do you think I should/could do about it?