That’s Our Policy
Last Friday afternoon someone from Queensland Australia signed up for one of our PetMassage™ Foundation Level workshops. We had corresponded on Facebook and she felt that our teaching philosophy would be simpatico with hers. She registered online at our website by purchasing a ticket to the workshop. The fees for all our workshops include all the books, DVDs, streaming video downloads, downloads of course packets and, if you are in the US, everything is sent to you at no cost. Whenever someone within the US signs up for a workshop, we’ve offered free shipping for their books and DVDs. The shipping fees are nominal so they are absorbed by PetMassage™. Shipping outside the USA is more expensive so we’ve been compelled to shift those costs to the students.
You may have noticed that PetMassage™ has a new website. Our old site, which hadn’t been completely updated for more than a dozen years finally sat down and refused to move. Whether we wanted it or not, we used this as an opportunity to rebuild and redesign it. As we reconstructed it, line by line, page by page we rethought and rephrased every aspect of our business. Everything from Workshop descriptions and photographs of The PetMassage™ Team to categories of products to Blog and Resources is clean and fresh, like a garden of tulips after a spring rain.
It was a huge undertaking. We strived to stay organized and addressed everything. There were so many aspects to the PetMassage™ school that we sometimes lost our place amidst all the distractions. There are hundreds of pages of content. Our focus jumped from one topic to another. We are fortunately discovering fewer and fewer elements that we overlooked; yet we are still in process of refining our message. When our Aussie friend registered, we discovered that our new site did not have the widget installed that determines overseas shipping fees for course materials. Anastasia and I both felt uncomfortable asking her to pay for it; yet this has been our “policy” for, well, forever. So, I sent our new student an email telling her that she would have to pay an additional $60 for shipping.
Our weekend was beginning. It was a beautiful warm spring day. After leaving the office, Anastasia and I took our boxer Camille for a walk. We hiked through the paths of our local Metropark, The Wildwood. For you former students, you know how beautiful it is. It was springtime magical. We strained to see the birds we heard high up in the bare tree branches. We pointed out purple and white tops of awakening crocuses. We traced our fingers over the soft new buds on trailside forsythia. Camille dragged me from one scent to another and I delighted in her enjoyment. The air was fresh. The soil, dark and fragrant. The sky, a bright radiant blue. Everything around us felt ripe and expectant. I was walking and thinking. Walking and thinking. As we walked I got more and more resentful of the “policy” that we had in place.
Policy Reversal Decision
Finally I just stopped, turned to Anastasia, and announced, “This is not us. It’s not who we are. We strive to be as fair minded and ethical in the way we treat our students and clients as we can; and yet we are charging one student for shipping and not the others. The policy needs to be revised just like we’ve done with our website. We’re penalizing our foreign students for not living in our country.”
Anastasia had been quietly thinking about it, too. We both smiled. We acknowledged that we were both grateful that, of all the schools in the world that offered dog massage training, she chose PetMassage™. Anastasia added, “She is coming from practically on the opposite side on the planet, all the way to PetMassage™ in Toledo OH from Queensland Australia. She trusts us enough to travel a twenty hour flight, thirteen thousand miles, each way. Yes, we need to send her a note right away telling her that her shipping is free.”
So, on the way back to our home, we stopped at the office. I opened the email folder to write her the happy news, the amended message, and found that she had already responded. She wrote that she understood and would pay the additional costs when she arrived to take the workshop. I was eager to share our new policy with her and emailed her telling her that she didn’t have to pay for shipping after all. PetMassage™ would absorb the costs. It was the right thing to do; to reverse the policy that charged for overseas shipping of our course materials.
Reward, Immediate Gratification
Taking that action felt great. I felt lighter, brighter, worthy of my self regard. Anastasia was giddy with self approval. Camille’s already achieved enlightenment; so she just stretched on a massage table and took a nap.
Monday morning, our student emailed her thank you. Our decision validated that she had made the right choice for her training. We say to her, thank you back. You’ve helped us discover something in our website, and in ourselves, that needed refining.