The 55/05 Rule

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“But I’m right.” The misguided rally cry for so many who serve customers.

Does it matter? Does it really matter so much that you might be right about some minute point? Customers are often wrong, in fact, more times than they would ever care to admit, BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER! There are no trophies being handed out for being right.

At Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI, they actually have a policy based on giving customers the benefit of the doubt. They call it the 55/05 rule. You see, they open their doors 5 minutes prior to their posted opening time (:55) and close their doors 5 minutes after their posted closing time (:05). This is to accommodate the possibility of fast or slow watches or people who just suck at timeliness. When the deli clock says 6:58am but a customer’s clock says 7:01am, is it really worth being right to have them wait 2 more minutes out in the cold? No way.

Think about your business, are there policies that need to be more flexible to allow for human error? Are there ways you can adjust to give human beings more benefit of the doubt?

I know we all like to be right, but when it comes to customers, is it worth losing them to be rigid? What can you do to allow for the vagaries of human imperfection? What can you do to make your customers right…even when they’re wrong?

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