18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Michlig Greg Michlig joined the New Jersey Credit Union League as President/CEO in May of 2013. He has a strong background in the credit union, association and related financial services … Web: www.njcul.org Details Over this past weekend I stopped at a well-known national retailer to pick up a few items for a home-improvement project I was working on. One of the items was small… something I threw in the basket thinking, “this may work, but if not it’s only a few bucks and I’ll likely have a use for it down the road.”When I got to the register I was greeted by a polite, yet uninterested young man who may have had a late night prior to coming in to his shift on this day. He rang up a couple items, then came to the “throw-in” and paused as he tried to scan it several times. After an attempt to locate the item in the computer system, he looked at me and said “$2.99 sound good?”Somewhat surprised, I said “sure.” Now, I didn’t really know if it was a $2 or $8 dollar item. If this was something more significant and he asked “$99 sound good?” I would have wanted to be exact on the price. But, in this case, he felt comfortable making a call to keep the process moving. I appreciated this and thought about all the times I have had to either stand at the register myself or stand in line as the cashier contacted the department to find out how much the bottle of shampoo or roll of tape costs and then have the manager summoned to turn the magic key and type in the security code so that things could move forward. I have shopped at this chain many, many times before and while I have had the stand-in-line scenario happen far too often, I have not had this experience.Later in the day I looked up the price of the item online. Turns out, I saved $1.49. But I also gained some perspective on how that young man felt about his job, manager and the company he works for. He didn’t flinch when he proposed the $2.99 offer. I wondered what the threshold is for him to feel comfortable making such a decision. I also thought about how management handled these types of situations. Was there a culture of trust that enabled this and allows front-line staff to make decisions based on their best judgment? Is there a strict written policy that sets the thresholds? Are these things simply spoken or is it implied and understood?Then I thought about what this said to me, the customer. For $1.49, I walked out of that store with a cognizant awareness that it had just earned a step up on the competition.How is your business, your credit union, earning a step up on the competition in small ways? How are you empowering your front-line, your field staff, call center and/or those who manage to make decisions based on best judgment that will make a difference? How is that communicated? What are the parameters? How does it affect your culture?In this case, it only took one person to feel empowered to make a quick decision on a small item to change my perception of a store. Of course, maybe he took a chance or was on the way out, one way or another… but that’s a story for another day.