The customer is not always right, especially to Joey Prusak, an employee at Dairy Queen in Minnesota. This past week, Joey’s response to a customer’s dishonest behavior made headlines and earned a phone call from Warren Buffet. When Joey saw a customer secretly take a twenty dollar bill that belonged to another customer, he confronted the dishonest customer asking her to return the money. When she refused, he refused to serve her. Then he went a step further, he took out his own twenty dollar bill and gave it to the victim. Interestingly, Joey didn’t believe he did anything special. Others believe Joey’s actions were extraordinary.
At Ritz Carlton, employees have access to discretionary company funds that allow their daily jobs to be extraordinary in the eyes of their customers. Under certain circumstances described in this article, employees can utilize the funds. I don’t have any specific examples such as Joey above, however I would be willing to bet Ritz Carlton has some heart-warming stories of their employees going above and beyond. Even though Ritz Carlton and Dairy Queen can hardly be compared, especially their vastly different customer base, both companies want employees to do the right thing for the customers. Employees honesty and caring should be the norm in any customer service company, rather than the exception, however what makes Joey’s act extraordinary is that too often employees either don’t have the support to do what’s right or just don’t care. In a brandful workforce, which depends on great employees who can just be themselves, Joey’s example could be more the norm, than the exception.