Going the extra mile is an old expression. It describes people who provide better customer service, do a little more than expected and try a little harder. This is a great concept for customer service and is further enhanced by Roger Staubach, the Hall-of-Fame football player who played quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, who said:
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
This is a great metaphor that can be used in a variety of ways and is especially applicable to business, and specifically the concept of the customer experience (CX).
Going the extra mile is about the “baker’s dozen,” which is getting more than you thought you were paying for. It’s the extra time a salesperson spends helping you make the right selection. It’s the customer support rep that takes an extra few minutes to ensure you have all of your questions answered and won’t need to call back. You get the idea.
I was talking to a client, Chris Cielewich at FLAVORx, about this very concept. FLAVORx is a machine that takes terrible tasting medications and flavors them. Parents love this, because kids are more willing to take their medicine. Sounds good so far. There is a catch, and here is where the concept of the extra mile comes into play.
If the customer asks for the FLAVORx, it takes the pharmacist an extra 45 seconds to fill the prescription. Some pharmacies are so focused on productivity that they don’t want to take the extra 45 seconds, even if it creates a better customer experience.
Chris Cielewich conducted an experiment. He had three prescriptions to fill for his children and decided to go to three different pharmacies to see which pharmacist would recommend FLAVORx. With the kids in tow, he ventured out to fill the prescriptions. None of the pharmacists went the extra mile to ask if the kids wanted their meds flavored. When Chris asked them to flavor the medicine all three complied, but only one did so with a smile. The other two begrudgingly commented about how busy they were; obviously too busy to go the extra mile.
So what can you do to go the extra mile? Simple: Give the customer more than they thought they were going to get. The old saying of going the extra mile is a sound customer service strategy. It’s taking some extra time, making an unexpected phone call to make sure the customer is happy or adding a little “something” extra. And, this is important, through all of it never make the customer feel as if he or she is an inconvenience.
And just because there isn’t any traffic on that extra mile, it doesn’t mean you’ll be lonely. On the contrary, you’ll be “driving” that extra mile with your customers!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)