One thing that differentiates a large corporation from a small business is the level of small business customer service. It’s easier for a mom and pop small business to make judgement calls when it comes to breaking the rules. The larger the company, the more levels of bureaucracy you have to deal with, and the harder it is to get a real person to listen to you. Of course you have to have rules that your company abides by, but sometimes making a good judgement call can net you even more business down the road, and bring in very loyal and devoted customers for life.
An example happened this past weekend. I was staying at a rustic resort in the middle of nowhere. It was great. No cell phone coverage, no Internet coverage, no TV, and no radio. The nearest grocery store was about 40 miles away. Some people might freak out about that, but for a stressed out and overworked small business owner I thought it was heaven!
So, here’s what happened. They have a main building with about 20 rooms, and separate from the building it’s surrounded by small and large cabins. I was staying in one of the small cabins, which had a refrigerator and microwave. I was suppose to move into the main building for a couple of nights, but what I didn’t know is that the new room didn’t have a refrigerator or microwave. And I had already bought enough groceries to last for the extra days.
I asked the manager if I could just stay in the cabin since the groceries would all go to waste and there were no restaurants around for miles. Also, no one was scheduled to be staying in the cabin for the next few days. The manager looked at the regular price and quoted me a big difference if I stayed. I convinced her that it would be a good call to just let me stay in the cabin. She finally agreed and the mini vacation turned out to be a welcome escape from the world.
Here’s how the judgment call paid off. The next day I spoke to a group of about 100 small business owners in the nearest major city. I mentioned the resort to all of them and everyone I came in contact with. Several people expressed interest in going there and one woman even mentioned that it would be a great place to have her upcoming wedding.
That one small judgment call will probably bring them in ten times the karma. Of course you can’t always do this as a small business owner, but if you just use common sense you will probably get more business out of it in the end.
How have you used a judgment call in your small business that paid off?