"Bend the Rules, Break the Norm" The Beauty in Making Exceptions"

Jun 19, 2024
Consider Bending the Rules, Breaking the Norm... The Beauty in Making Exceptions (Why and When)

I leased a car from a dealership about 50 miles away.  Before I leased this car, The GM noticed that we actually lived very close to each other.  Knowing this, he was very grateful that I drove so many miles to do business with his location. Especially since I passed other dealerships selling the same brand. During the buying process,  he MADE AN EXCEPTION by offering to drop off cars for me to test drive.  After I purchased a car from him, he offered to take my new car into the dealership anytime it needed servicing, since he lived so close to my house.

No one told him to do this.  He made an exception to the norm.  In the three years of my lease, I only had to travel into their dealership twice… once to pick it up and once to turn it back in.  I’ve shared this story in front of thousands of audience members to date.

Did anyone ever “make an exception” for you? How did it make you feel?
  • Standard Check in time is 4 pm, but I’ll make an exception and check you in for early arrival, at no additional charge.
  • Our tradeshow floor is full, but I can make an exception and prioritize your company on a wait list if anyone cancels.
During my time with Ritz-Carlton, each lady or gentlemen was permitted to “fix, correct, or enhance” a guest situation and spend up to a certain amount, without question. 
This EMPOWERMENT created an exceptional range for each employee to go above and beyond as needed.  There was TRUST, HONOR, and RESPECT with this gesture and within the culture. 
  •  We don't typically provide upgrades, but… I will
  •  We don't typically give late check outs, but… I will
  •  We don't typically extend the due date for the contract, but…I will.
I’ve learned to CONSIDER MAKING EXCEPTIONS when empowered to create SERVICE EXCELLENCE IMPACT.  By doing this, you are giving special ACCESS to the extraordinary (that most people don’t get) and creating FEELINGS that don’t easily disappear.  This creates loyalty from your employees and your customers alike.  You are treating them a certain way.  You are making them feel special.  You are giving them insight and access to uniqueness. 
All of these suggestions are ones that I’ve seen work in the right environment, with the right people, with the right empowerment.  They are were done “within reason” and caused no alarm for violating any policies or established systems.  
Consider doing this for your team:
  • Go ahead and expense that meal, and take a guest with you
  • Take a day off on me, you’ve been working hard
  • Let me pay for parking
  • We have extra tickets, could you and your family use them?
  • I understand why you’re late today and I won’t document you
  • Your benefits will start immediately because of your health situation
  • You’re getting a raise because I noticed you changed your 401K contribution to zero.  I know you need the money now for your new baby
Consider doing this for your customers:
  • I’m going to upgrade your system because I think it will help 
  • We don’t normally allow you to return this item, but we will
  • I am flexible with my fees to meet your budget
  • I will personally pick you up at the airport to make it easier for your arrival
Consider doing this for yourself:
  • I don’t normally buy anything new, but…
  • I don’t need a sunroof on my new car, but…
  • I shouldn’t have dessert, but…
Empower your Team. 
Educate them on Service Excellence.  
There is Beauty in Making Exceptions when it leads to increased customer loyalty and deeper employee engagement. 


Let us help you navigate rising meeting costs, and plan an unforgettable event! 

Team Baarman has planned & negotiated domestic and international events for organizations with 10 to 100,000 attendees.