How Far Would Your Employees Go?

Linda LaitalaBusinessLeave a Comment

What would your employees do when faced with a frustrated, exasperated customer?

I had an experience last Saturday that blew my socks off.  I needed a black toner cartridge for my laser printer.  My favorite store for this item is Cartridge World in Cambridge.  I know the owners Steve and Renee Horbul and they’ve always given great service at a reasonable price.   

I arrived at Cartridge World at 8:30 AM last Saturday and had to wait for the store to open at 9:00.  Dawn was staffing the counter; I told her what I needed and she looked and looked and looked but couldn’t find a black cartridge.

“Are you sure?” I asked her.  This is a really common cartridge; Steve has always had them in stock before.  Maybe you just missed it.  Look again.”

She did, but to no avail.  “Maybe you could stop back,” she suggested.  “I’m on my way out of town and don’t have time.” I replied.  “Maybe you could swing in next week?”  she persisted.

“Dawn, I live 25 miles away.  I stopped because I was going through Cambridge and I need the toner now.  Forget it and I’ll try to find one somewhere else.”  I left the store and continued on my trip to Wisconsin.

Thirty minutes later Dawn called.  “I found the black toner cartridge,” she said.  “I’m so sorry.  Whenever you have time to come in, the cartridge will be sitting on the counter with your name on it and there will be no charge for it.”

“No charge?” I said.  “That’s not necessary.  I don’t expect Steve and Renee to give me a $50 toner cartridge because of a simple mistake.  I’ll be back through Cambridge on Tuesday and will pay for it then.”

Renee stammered a bit and finally said, “I put the cartridge on my personal credit card.  I felt really bad that you drove so far and waited for the store to open; then, because I didn’t look in the right spot, you didn’t get what you needed.  I wanted you to be happy, so I paid for it.”


I didn’t allow her do that, of course.  She issued herself a credit and I paid for the toner on Tuesday.

But it begs the questions – •How far would your employees go to ensure your customers are satisfied?
•How far have you empowered them to go

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