Sometimes one of the greatest ways to provide great customer service is to give something of value away for free. It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive. It can be something small—even really small. It just has to be valuable to the customer.

Think about the owner of a restaurant who buys his regular customers a drink or a dessert. Actually, that's not small enough. I'm talking really small—something that costs your only a dollar or two.

What prompted this thought was an email from Ron Baker, president of Gracey-Backer Insurance. Ron was pulled over one night for having a broken taillight. Ron promised the officer he would get it fixed immediately. He went straight to the nearest full-service station, and the mechanic quickly replaced the bulb. Ron asked him, "How much do I owe you?" and the mechanic said, "This one's on me. 

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