Creating Happy Customers on a $5 Budget

Legendary customer service stories usually have one thing in common – an engaged employee who was empowered to deliver amazing customer service.

One great tactic is the $5 Lifeboat. The idea empowers an associate to spend up to five dollars to solve a problem without prior approval (use whatever dollar increment is reasonable in your organization).

In ‘Amaze Every Customer Every Time,’ author Shep Hyken describes how one store owner demonstrated the idea:

An Ace Hardware customer was letting a cashier know how disappointed he was that his rebate checks were taking so long to arrive. The store owner overheard, opened the register and handed the customer cash to cover the two five dollar rebates.

“If the rebate check comes in, and you want to swing by the store and give us back the ten dollars, that would be fine,” he said.

After that, the pleasantly surprised customer made a point of finding the owner and saying hello every time he came into the store. The store had a customer for life.

To create a similar policy in your workplace, think about what decisions you could empower your team to make on their own. How does the cost of those decisions compare to the value of creating lifetime customers? Set clear guidelines, and make sure your team understands the value of your customers. Then, share examples that illustrate the spirit of the policy. You’ll  empower your team to make decisions that build better relationships.

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