customer service effort

Don’t Go the Extra Mile for Your Customers

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”  Roger Staubach

I visited Staples this week to get some binding work done on a report I was putting together for a client. I don’t use the service too often but every time I’ve been, I liked what I saw. In and out in an hour and your report looks a little more snazzy. This time around, while I was speaking with the counter staff about paper stock and options, she directed me to the copy machines at the front of the store that probably would best serve my purposes. She asked, “Had I ever used their machines before?” My answer: Nope.

And then she did something that really blew me away.

She came out from behind the counter.

Yep, that’s it, that’s all. As a customer using this Staples service for the first time, she knew that there’d be value in giving that extra effort to ensure I was ready to go.

Were the copy machines hard to operate? Hell, no. Not the point. She was making her self available and helping me familiarize myself with them.

Could she have just pointed to the machines and told me “head that way”? Sure. But that’s directing traffic, not customer service.

It’s amazing how little effort is needed to make people feel special. Forget about going that extra mile for your customers, ask yourself if you’re going that extra inch. Or 15 feet in this case. Make sure you’re doing what you can for them, in that moment, rather than thinking about the next customer, your coffee break, what you did last night, etc. My other concern is that businesses are busy pushing GREAT, ABOVE AND BEYOND SERVICE, when thoughtfulness, empathy and a little effort will do. 

And as I write this, I sneezed. A good one too. And in the background of this coffee shop, I heard a staff member say, “bless you”. Not too loud but just enough for me to hear. Nice.

She went an inch, but it felt like a mile. 

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