The Crossroads Principle: Fairness

crossroadsWhen kids get tall enough to sit on your lap behind the steering wheel and still see the car in front of you, they are old enough to begin noticing the “customs of driving.” Not the rules, mind you, the implied agreements drivers have with each other.

We were at a stoplight and I was planning to turn left after the light changed. I waited for the oncoming car on the other side of the light to pass before turning left. My ten-year-old granddaughter asked, “How did you know to wait? You got to the traffic light before he did.” I explained there was an agreement that you never turn left into oncoming traffic. Shortly after that we came to a four-way stop with no light involved. I waited my turn based on who arrived first at the stop sign. “Same agreement?” she asked.

Customers, like drivers, have an innate sense of fairness. We know if a product we buy is unquestionably defective, the merchant should take it back and refund our money. We know if a delivery service promises next day delivery and our package arrives three days late, we should get it without delivery charge.

Customers have the same sense of fairness when they give their hard earned funds to a company fronted by an indifferent clerk, a curt call center operator, or one that has a return policy with bureaucratic hassle and laborious red tape.

The customer always brings a “crossroads perspective” to the exchange. Do you always know how your customers define “fairness?” Is your service governed by an abundant sense of fairness?


Image Credit: Mark Clifton via Flickr

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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