Management Tactic #36: The Power of Perks

The other day I got a call from my insurance agent.

She said that in honor of Thanksgiving, she was calling all her clients to thank them for their loyalty (I’ve been with her for a while, probably close to 8 years). Then she asked if I were available on November 19 at 7:00 pm for something she was planning for all her clients.

I immediately started thinking of all the possible excuses I could say. I was fully prepared to say I would be busy, especially when she said that she’d be renting out a movie theater. I thought for sure she’s be showing some poorly written family-friendly fare that I wouldn’t see if you paid me to, like Clifford’s Really Big Movie, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, or Saw V.

But then she said the movie would be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. On premiere night. And I could bring a friend. And that they’d be handing out VISA gift cards for use at concession. The only way the news could have been better would have been if she had said the name of the movie with a Bri’ish accent like the royal family sketch on SNL this past weekend (pause in writing to rewatch it) and if she had said that every attendee would have a personal masseuse for the duration of the movie.

They're rushing to find my insurance agent.

Now, Jackie could have called me up and offered me $3 off my car insurance from now on. That’s about $36 a month, probably close to the cost of two tickets and a $5 gift card.

But I’d choose the perk any day over that. It was just such a wonderful gesture, and it’s spreadable. Would I be blogging about a $3 monthly discount on my car insurance? Would I even remember that rebate in a few months? Nope. But I’ll remember this.

It’s a lesson to us all for both clients and employees–perks can often resonate much deeper than cash. I think the key is not to skimp on the perk, though. Jackie went all out, and it probably cost her a pretty penny to rent that theater. But it was totally worth it.

What kind of perks have you created or been privy to that went a long way…or didn’t?

Daily Quickie: You know who doesn’t go all out? AMC theaters in St. Louis (they’re awesome in Kansas City). The popcorn is terrible, the butter is gross, and they don’t have real popcorn salt. And the prices are outrageous. A large combo and a candy were $18! I haven’t been to an AMC in a long time, opting instead for the Chase, Moolah, Hi-Pointe, Frontenac, and the Tivoli. With those other theaters doing everything they can to create a great movie experience, I won’t be going back to AMC until Jackie rents out a theater again.