The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is the largest of its kind in the world. A few years ago, I attended the show and found a ring with a 22 carat pear-shaped prasiolite (green quartz). I bought the ring from a jeweler in North Carolina, who took it back with him to be sized. It would be mailed later. A few weeks passed and the ring arrived. I opened it to find that the stone was cracked. I called the shop owner and discovered that they had gone to Florida to care for an ailing relative for several weeks. While they were gone, the person sizing the ring had damaged it and mailed it anyway. The shop owner asked me if I wanted my money back or if I would like to have the stone replaced. I wanted the stone replaced because the ring was so unusual, so I sent the ring back and waited…

At least two months went by. I called the shop owner to find out the status and here is what I learned. The shop owner had purchased the ring in New York. He tried to find a replacement stone there with no luck. Then he searched the US. No luck. The ring had been made by a designer in Italy, so he contacted the designer directly to see if he could replace the stone. The designer did not have a stone that large in his inventory, so he CARVED ONE from a piece of rough that he had go in search of because of the size of the stone. The shop owner mailed the damaged ring to Italy and the designer replaced the cracked stone with the new one, then sent the ring back to North Carolina. The shop owner had just received the ring from Italy when I called. He mailed it out and I received it later that week. To my surprise, the second stone was even more beautiful than the first.

What an amazing effort the shop owner made to satisfy my request! My question to you is “How far are you willing to go for your customers?”. Not just your 3rd party customers, but your internal customers. Would you go as far as this shop owner to fulfill their needs or meet their requirements? If the answer is “yes”, you work in an amazing company and are a part of an amazing culture! If the answer is “no”, I can guarantee that costs are higher than they need to be and quality and management credibility is lower than they could be. The shop owner’s highest priority was the satisfaction of his customers. What is your highest priority? How does it affect your service to customers and your relationship with other departments?