Average brands deliver exactly what is asked of them. Exceptional brands deliver more. Finding novel and surprising ways to go the extra mile turns sceptics into fanatics and passive bystanders into loyal customers who tell their friends.
Without their clients, businesses wouldn’t exist. Safeguarding your future means putting energy into the extra mile until it’s second nature. Here are six ways to go the extra mile for your customers, with examples from business owners who put their customers first.
The simple things
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Save them time, save them money, and be their eyes and ears ready to assist. Join forces and focus on the same goals.
Property photographer Donatas Viskontas doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves to get the perfect shot. “I get really involved with staging a property, including tidying up and cleaning windows. Even though that’s extra to the service, it ensures my clients get better-looking photos.” Real estate agent and broker Rock Florida adopts a similar approach to helping his clients’ homes attract higher bids, by “taking an active part in preparing their homes for sale with [his] pressure washer, paintbrushes, and other construction and renovation skills.”
Tori Porter, fitness and wellbeing communications specialist takes pride in making her clients’ lives easier. “I transcribe clients’ voice notes so they don’t have to write answers for features. If I don’t have a client that fits a journalists’ request, I will always send them an option of another expert or small business I know. Not only does it help both parties but it’s good karma!”
A little extra
Whilst it might seem like the extra mile to your clients, it doesn’t have to cost heaps to deliver. Sometimes the extra mile can be found in the little additions. The stuff you throw in.
Austin Nicholas of GetFocused understands that simply satisfying a customer is not a good strategy. “You have to send them into what we call the delight zone.” Nicholas nicknames his approach, “the baker’s dozen strategy. Sell twelve, but, whenever possible, include an extra treat to make them smile and feel the value.”
Sanjay Aggarwal of Spice Kitchen has “been gifting chocolate with [their] spices; just a teeny way to show how grateful we are for their business during this difficult year.” Maxwell Prince Nee of High Performing Coach runs online workshops with over 150 attendees but will stay for the Q&A until there are no questions left, sometimes for hours.
Claudia Colvin of Nobody’s Watching hosts virtual dance events with a difference. “One of my regulars had a birthday so I snuck a birthday song into the playlist and did a virtual ‘blow out the birthday candle’. She was so pleased and I now do this any time someone has a birthday. It’s a big hit!”
Something that was not your fault can still be your responsibility. Whilst it would be easy to blame suppliers or delivery partners when your customers are dissatisfied, it’s not a good look and won’t benefit your brand in the long term.
Jane Malyon of The English Cream Tea Company goes the extra mile quite literally. “A lady was being sent an afternoon tea hamper and we noticed that it was utterly stuck at a hub 200 miles away due to a lorry fire. We saw from the gift message that it was her 75th birthday gift from her family. For all we knew, this hamper might have represented her entire birthday celebration.” For Malyon it was an easy decision. “We made another hamper from scratch and drove it ourselves for 90 minutes each way to ensure her treats arrived.” The next day, Malyon found out that both hampers had arrived, much to the delight of the birthday girl. “Boy was she happy!”
Dale Carnegie of the international bestselling book, How to win friends and influence people, sees someone’s name, to that person, as “the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Finding ways to incorporate a client’s name into products and services will ensure they know your efforts are tailored to them.
For Kiron Philips of RK Vodka, each product they ship is hand personalised. “It’s not just the bespoke wax seals and personalised glassware; every message, email or social media post is created by me or my brother to ensure our clients know we care.” Their focus on the extra mile is for the long term, ensuring “a one-off customer becomes a lifelong client.”
Brynley Little of Your Land Partner works with landowners to turn land into legacy. For them, it’s about more than maximising the monetary value of an asset. “We might look to preserve their legacy by naming the development or perhaps a road on the development after the family or something that is meaningful to them. That way their name and history of ownership and involvement is preserved years into the future and can be seen by future generations.” There are plenty of ways to personalise the experience of your customers, to put a smile on their faces.
Humans want to feel valued. They want to feel like everything they say is heard and understood and you are the trusted supplier to make that happen. Even if their mind is elsewhere, knowing that yours is on them will cement your company and its caring ethos in their memory.
Adnan Ali, a former restaurant owner, remembers a time when a regular customer dined without his partner. “Knowing that he normally came with her we asked to see if she was ok and he let us know she had the flu. Before the customer left, we packed up some freshly made soup and some other menu items for him to take home to her, on the house.” The team’s gesture “was super appreciated, resulting in lots of positive feedback.”
Maxwell Prince Nee of High Performing Coach remembers things you forget. His company operates a referral rewards system, and Nee personally chased down a client who finished working with the company six months previously to pay the referral reward she forgot to claim. “As the CEO, I wanted her to know how much we appreciate her trust and confidence.”
Your clients hire you because you are the expert. If they struggle to let go it’s because they’re scared. Show them their brand is in safe hands by thinking of everything. Demonstrate organisation, understand them completely and take charge of the way forward.
Paul McGillivray, digital product studio co-founder, won’t just deliver work to a list of requirements. “We work with them to challenge that list.” He knows it would be easier to “just deliver what’s in our client’s head”, but they want to ensure every project is a success even if it involves more work for them. “It’s a harder road, as we naturally challenge all the original assumptions that our clients have made, but the chances of building and delivering a successful app at the end of it are much higher.”
Camilla J Collins of CJC Hair & Makeup loves being of service. She takes her wedding clients under her wing to ensure they are the star of the show and the day goes without a hitch. Although her remit only includes the bridal party’s hair and makeup, Collins knows that brides might need more help on the day, so she has it on hand. “I will have a therapist ready to soothe wedding jitters or help diffuse family tension, a florist to help rearrange bouquets…, a seamstress to fix a dress, a cake decorator to fix a melting and sloping cake…” Collins’ quickly becomes trusted by her clients and once even accompanied “a couple to the registry office to be a witness when they had eloped to London!”
Deliver exceptionally on the simple things, give a little extra, take responsibility and control, personalise the experience and remember what they forget. Find the extra mile and set up camp there for the benefit of your clients, their businesses and yours.
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