November 24, 2016
Service Beyond the Call of Duty

Superman service.jpg

Most companies trying to get a "competitive advantage" eventually realize that the key is customer service -- the ability to differentiate themselves from the competition by delivering their product or service in unforgettable ways. Here's a memorable example:

Some years ago, my company came together for a two-day team building offsite -- an "all hands on deck" outdoor ropes course experience in Colorado. All 14 of us met at a deli in Boulder to buy sandwiches for lunch later that day -- so when we got to our destination, two hours away, we could all chow down before the team building began.

Great concept. Great planning. Lots of turkey, tuna, and tofu. The only problem? I left all 14 sandwiches on the deli counter. None of them made it to my car -- something I only realized 30 minutes later. Too far down the road to turn back and with no time to buy a replacement lunch, we continued on our sandwich-less way.

Fast forward 90 minutes.

Surprise of surprises! When we checked in at the front desk, the 14 sandwiches were waiting for us! Huh? What? Really? The front desk guy then proceeded to explain that the owner of the deli, way back in Boulder, upon realizing we had left our sandwiches on his front counter, got in his car five minutes after we left and drove TWO HOURS to our destination, getting there before us! Un-blanking-believable! Amazing!

Guess who had a customer for life? Guess how many people I've told this story to? Guess how many new customers the deli owner got as a result of his outrageous, beyond-the-call-of-duty expression of customer service? The short answer: MANY.

This is as simple as it gets, folks. I seriously doubt that the deli owner ever attended a class on customer service. I seriously doubt he was reading books on customer service the night before or googling it. Not necessary. He knew, in his heart of hearts, that my leaving the bag of sandwiches on his counter was an opportunity to be extraordinary and he went for it.

YOU have that same choice every day. So do I. The question isn't whether or not we have the opportunity to go beyond the call of duty. The question is whether or not we CHOOSE to go beyond the call of duty.

Next time the opportunity arises, remember the deli guy.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at November 24, 2016 05:40 PM

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