In a world where consumers expect to be nickel-and-dimed to death at every turn, and it takes a law degree to decipher the terms and conditions of a credit card, sometimes the price of lifetime customer loyalty is astonishingly low.
Adrienne Saia was about to embark on a long road trip from Pennsylvania to Colorado when the battery on her iPod decided to shuffle off its mortal coil. She made an appointment at her local Apple store to have a replacement battery installed, but when she got there the battery was out of stock (possibly because her iPod was an older model not made anymore).
Nor were there any batteries available at any other Apple store nearby. Adrienne is evidently someone who loves her music, especially on a long road trip, and the prospect of being iPod-less for the trip combined with all the other stresses of planning a long trip made her nearly break down in the middle of the Genius Bar.
The Apple employee, perhaps sensing her distress, then offered to upgrade her to a brand-new iPod. For free.
No doubt many managers would consider this a lost revenue opportunity, and at many companies the employee would be reprimanded for this gesture. Consider, though, that Apple has won a customer for life, for the wholesale price of a new iPod.
They say that loyalty can't be bought. That's not true, and the price may be less than you expect if the timing is right.