This morning I took my car in to the shop to get the trunk lock fixed. Due to yesterday’s slight kerfuffle, the service representative voluntarily chose to apply a discount to my final bill. I didn’t ask for any monetary compensation for yesterday’s inconvenience; but as I reviewed the invoice before I handed over my credit card, I saw a line that read “Service discount coupon” – and that item reduced the total charge instead of adding to it.
Now, I understand that extending this small monetary gift is a strategic business move; that the slight reduction in my overall charges is well worth the company’s attempt to re-establish good feelings towards them; that happy customers are repeat customers; that retaining one current customer is as valuable as finding anywhere from 4-7 new customers….I’m a business gal, I know the psychology of the service/transactional world. And while this offer was a smart business play, it was also a kind, compassionate gesture. The service representative didn’t say anything about the discount to me; I had to read the invoice to find it. Had I never looked at the bill, I may never have realized what the soft-spoken, gentle agent did for me. But I did notice, and I was genuinely touched; and I smiled and thanked the man for his kindness. And he blushed a slight little bit, apologized again for yesterday, lowered his eyes to finish the paperwork and complete the transaction… and then he smiled.