How Two Cents Can Make or Break A Leader

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How much is two cents worth these days? Seem like an pretty easy answer, two cents, right? Not so fast. The question may be best answered by Rubio’s. Rubio’s is a fish taco restaurant chain based in Carlsbad CA and a place where I frequently eat lunch. Last week I went in and ordered two street tacos and a small drink. The price, $6.02.

There are two things that frustrate me about the $6.02 price. First, I will have $0.98 cents jingling around in my pocket and second, I feel I have to drop all of the “change” into the tip jar if one is sitting on the counter. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy for the change I get back. I guess the real issue is, I wish I had two cents so I wouldn’t be in this minor yet frustrating situation...again. If I had the two cents I could get foldable “paper money” back. Yes, foldable, easy to carry, less items, simple!

The manager happened to take my order and after handing him a $10.00 bill he asked if I had two cents. I told him I didn’t. He reached into his pocket, pulled out two cents and rang me up. He then handed me four $1.00 bills. Are you kidding me? Was that an attempt at good customer service? Because that wasn't good customer service, it was EXCEPTIONAL customer service!

In a world where good stands out, what do you think EXCEPTIONAL gets you?
A lifelong customer perhaps?

Why was this exchange more valuable than giving me two cents? I’ll tell you why. Effort, initiative, awareness, and leadership. Two cents made a leader. Two cents bought Rubio’s a customer for life instead of going next door for a slice of pizza. Things like customer service, going the extra mile and making a profound difference in the customer experience are rare these last few years, at least in my experience.

You may be saying, “Geez Craig, it was two cents, how can you say ‘profound difference’ when it was just two cents?” Well, how would this apply to your work environment and the service you provide? Can you do a little thing that will make a little difference that will make a big difference?

In my experience two cents is worth two cents but in a leadership exchange the value of that two cents skyrockets. So, if you were to ask Rubio’s how much two cents is worth to them they would tell you $312.00!

You see, if I eat at Rubio’s once a week and if I order the same meal for around $6.00 then two cents rounds out to about $312.00 a year. That may not be good practical math but it’s great leadership math. So, how will you spend, excuse me, invest your two cents today?

Put two cents in your pocket as a reminder. What small two cent investment can you give someone today? Be specific. Maybe it’s something you did last week. I would love to hear your story.

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