One small New Jersey sportsbook is trying to right a perceived wrong for its customers, teaching some valuable customer service lessons to us all.

People watching the NFL's NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday saw what many are categorizing as one of the worst no-calls in the league's history.

Late in the game, with the score tied at 20, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass to receiver Tommylee Lewis. Rams defender Nickell Robey-Coleman tackled Lewis well before the ball arrived.

This would normally be ruled as pass interference. Had the call been made, it would have given the Saints an automatic first down on the four yard line with a chance to run down the clock and score a touchdown, which would have almost certainly given them the win.

Instead, they had to settle for a field goal, which the Rams matched, sending the game into overtime where the Rams kicked another field goal to win it 26-23. 

Some were incensed because of the general sports injustice. Others were incensed because they put money down on New Orleans to win and got robbed of a payout. That's when PointsBet Sportsbook stepped up. According to AP, the company said it would refund all lost point-spread and moneyline bets on the Saints in the form of bonus bets with the company.

PointsBet has declined to say how much money this would cost it, but I don't think that actually matters. Even if the move loses the company money, it's strategically sound. Every business owner should learn these three lessons from it:

1. It pays to make goodwill with customers.

When you take a hit for things that are beyond your or your customers' control, you might be paying in cash or lost sales due to giving out credit, but you will be getting an ROI in goodwill.

In this case, PointsBet isn't alone. FanDuel made headlines in September when its algorithm mistakenly gave a man incorrect odds and paid him vastly more money than he should have received on a win. The company--after initially trying to stop the payout--ended up paying out the full $82,000.

When you ship a lot of products, you're bound to have some slip-ups. At my company, if we overship to or undercharge a client, we're happy to let it slide to stay on good terms with our customers. We've even replaced shipments lost in shipping-related mishaps that are out of our control.

It's a small price to pay for keeping customers happy over the long run.

2. Sometimes, you have to roll with the punches.

PointsBet obviously had no control over the referees' decision not to call a penalty, but it still rolled with this proverbial punch to keep customers happy.

Natural disasters, accidents, new regulations, and plenty of other things that you can't control happen in business. You may not hold any sway over a situation, but you can handle the things that are in your immediate domain to manage.

The same is true for your customers. Things will happen to them that they can't control. It makes a big impact on them when you can alleviate some of their pain.

If you consider your company to be socially responsible, think of your values in these types of situations. Show that you live by them.

3. Even small gestures count.

Although the betting company is only giving bonus bets to the people who lost money from the blown call debacle rather than refunding their money, it's still something and it's still useful for showing customers they care.

I've written before that when businesses apologize to customers, they need to give up something of value to make the apology sincere. The same concept applies here and, even better, it's a proactive measure rather than a reactive measure.

I like to keep the big picture in mind and remember this great quote from Marcus Aurelius's Meditations: "We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own."

Don't do the right thing because of what others might think. Do it because of what you think.

Published on: Jan 25, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.