I got an iPhone 6 the other day.

It hasn’t bent yet, but parts of this story made me want to bend it in frustration.

Thankfully, salvation was found.

Here in Canada, we have very few wireless companies, and they’re almost all incredibly frustrating to deal with.

I ended up going to a small mobile shop in the local supermarket. The store clerk assured me he could do the upgrade. I already knew it would be complicated given the fact I had a relatively new iPhone 5S and I was on a special corporate plan.

The rep started making calls, and he started hitting walls at every point.

Rogers representatives would put him on hold, hang up on him, or promise to transfer him to someone else and blatantly send him back to the dreadfully-awful automated system. Nobody wanted to do the work.

I was there for about 30 minutes, and he had to call back at least 10X in the short time I was there. Each time meant repeating the story.

Think about this – this is a rep for the company calling in! Imagine what it would be like for the end-consumer.

Herman sent me home and promised to call me later on when I could pick up the phone.

Later that evening Herman called me and said the deal was done, and I could come pick up my new phone. He told me that the back and forth went on for over five hours!!!

When I asked what his motivation was for sticking with it, he said he was interested in relationship building with every single customer.

He said wanted to embrace the over-used assertion of “wow’ing the customer.”

He said that if he did all this work and was able to get me what I wanted, then he might create a customer for life out of me, and I might tell others about my experience.

I didn’t mention that I was the guy who wrote the book on this very topic.

Every single the day the cost of acquiring a new customer goes up, and in many businesses, the value of each customer declines.

It declines because we live in an economy where it’s easy to price shop, or jump ship at a moment’s notice. Profit margins are continuously shrinking as your competitors will do whatever it takes to make the first sale, never mind building the relationship. They live for one transaction.

“Wow”ing the customer, putting instructions in a binder, or offering a training session is the easy stuff. It’s the kind of thing I do with organizations all the time – and most of the time, the results are impressive, and the ROI is obvious.

Giving employees the ability to make decisions and a spending account to fix problems on their own is a simple solution. Some of your employees might even embrace it, and for others they simply hope there are donuts at the meeting.

But sometimes an employee surprises us. We have to be ready to reward and recognize the ones who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Herman waded his way through the muck, working with dozens of robots for a massive organization where nobody cared, and nobody felt like doing any real work.

But Herman was human.

Herman earned the customer for life. He also earned a referral chain that will pay its dividends again, and again, and again.

Are you employees earning it, or are they just following the manual?