Rewarding customers who do the right thing


The last time I went to the grocery store, I flagged down a manager so that I could convey a rather strange request. You see, during the previous trip, they undercharged me by about $15-20. I didn’t notice the error until after I got home, so I just kept the receipt on hand so I could make things right during my next visit.

When I told the manager about this, he was pleasantly surprised. I guess it’s quite rare for a customer to tell them about an error made in the customer’s favor. Anyways, he thanked me for my honesty, and instructed me to tell the cashier about the missing items so I could pay for them as part of that day’s purchases.

This got me thinking: what’s the best way to handle this situation? Obviously, customers have an obligation to pay for the goods they purchase, but it’s probably not that common for people to go out of their way to do the right thing when the cashier makes a mistake. The ideal solution would make the store whole for the extra items, while encouraging customers to report these issues when they arise.

To meet everyone’s needs in the matter, stores should reward customers who report errors that resulted in them being undercharged. You don’t need to write off the entire amount and let the customer keep the items for free. In fact, the type of people who report these problems probably aren’t expecting a free ride. Instead, give them a small but meaningful concession, like a coupon to use on their next visit. This rewards customers for doing the right thing and helps build a collaborative long-term relationship, while minimizing losses due to errors in the checkout process.