I learned about the value of “customer service as exception” back in my Mr Ching venture days from Pepsico, our investor. For instance, a customer comes into a Pizza Hut at 2:30pm and asks for a personal pan pizza which the company does not make after 2:00pm. The manager is trained to explain the 2:00 o’clock rule, then tell the customer that this time since he did not know about the cutoff, that a personal pan pizza will be make for him by exception. I experienced the same thing recently when a Hardee’s employee made me breakfast after the 11am cutoff.
Today I experienced something even more special. I am in NYC working in my hotel room, and scheduled to checkout at noon. Then I find that my flight is delayed until 4pm because of weather. The desk person extended my checkout until 2pm. Her words to me, “I am doing this because . . . because . . . well, because you are Mr. Lane.” Is that a cool way to break a rule by exception or what?