Go the Extra Mile.

Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s irrationally high expectations, maybe it’s just general grumpiness, but I have noticed in myself an increasing irritation with poor service.  And, it seems to be getting worse.  Not just my irritation, but the preponderance of crummy service. 

With that in mind, imagine my bliss when the opposite holds true.  When someone goes the extra mile – whether or not they are being specifically paid to do so.  You know… when a colleague from another department is aware of a project you are working on and sends you a resource – perhaps an article, a podcast, the name of someone who can help – just because they thought it would be useful.  When the travel agent doesn’t just book the excursion, but sends a detailed confirmation and provides extra information about restaurants, attractions, and other points of interest along the way.  When the server fills your glass and then brings out a to-go iced tea without being asked.  You get the idea.

Let’s all take a step back.  Think about the service we, ourselves, are providing to our customers.  What can we be doing to improve our work?  Do we stop short, failing to personalize the experience?  Or, do we more than follow through, delivering an experience that catches people’s attention, offers a compelling, differentiated approach to service that let’s the client know we care?

Here’s the thing:  Does it take more effort or cost more?  Maybe, but not much.  Does it impact your personal brand?  You bet it does.

If you’re game to give it a try, consider these three ideas:

  1. Put yourself in their shoes.  Whether it’s your client, your colleague, a prospect, a contact, a family member… whomever, think about how you’d like to be treated if you were in their position, then deliver an experience that meets or exceeds that level of service.

  2. Show others how good you are at what you do.  When we go above and beyond and demonstrate our expertise, our prowess, our ability to get ‘er done, we not only deliver a high-quality product, we also show people what we’re made of.  We build reputations for excellence, for dedication, for caring, for being the best at what we do and who we are. 

  3. Think about how it’s going to make you feel.  When we do special things for others and the delight registers on their face, through their smile, through the expression of their genuine gratitude, doesn’t it feel nice?  Yes!  The little extra touches we put on our work (e.g., curling the ribbon, sending a handwritten thank you note, leaving the light on at night) not only feel great to the recipient of the kindness, but they generate a virtuous cycle which makes us feel great, too.

So, go that extra mile.  Be better than the competition.  Don’t deliver the most basic product – deliver the one that will be the most memorable, that will generate client loyalty, that will set you up as the go-to provider for that thing you provide.  Your effort and hard work will pay off for you and your audience.

Happy Networking!

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