Customers make or break your business, obviously. Only they can take you from nothing to something. Or, from something to nothing. You may have the most amazing product ever invented but without customers to back it up, you have don’t have much of anything. What most companies fail to realize is that customer loyalty doesn’t have to be left completely up to chance.
What does this mean? Well, if you and your employees do the bare minimum, your customers may not share their experience and may not come back. Humans have an innate ability to sense genuine care and effort. So go that extra mile and you can almost guarantee customer love, positive shares, and a return.
The extra mile is more than just a simple rewards program. These days, everyone does that. As a matter of fact, let’s consider a rewards program just a permission to play. The extra mile should be the mile they never saw coming. It’s something out of the ordinary, something exciting, and something very extra.
Here are some good examples:
Taco Bell: Back in 2012, the small town of Bethel, Alaska, received news that they would be getting their very own Taco Bell. When they realized it was nothing more than a hoax, the town was downright depressed. Who wouldn’t be? So, what does Taco Bell do? They airlift a taco truck and 10,000 free tacos to Alaska, of course. The result? 6,000 diehard loyalists.
Lego: In 2013, a distraught 7-year old boy wrote a letter to Lego informing them that he had lost his most cherished minifigure. Not only did Lego respond to the boy with a genuine letter, and not only did they send him a brand new minifigure, but they also sent a bad guy for his new minifigure to fight. A few minutes, a little authenticity, and a tiny expenditure was all it took for Lego to create a lifelong Lego fan. We’re sure the parents appreciated it, too.
Trader Joe’s: In Pennsylvania, an 89-year old man was facing the harsh possibility of being snowed in during a winter storm with not enough food to last him through. When his daughter found out, she called grocery chains in the area to see if someone could get some food to her father. When she contacted Trader Joe’s, (a company who doesn’t normally include delivery in their range of services) the workers instantly agreed to the task. Not only did Trader Joe’s bring her father more than what she had asked for but it was free of charge, as well. Can’t you feel that warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart?
Ritz-Carlton: After a young child left his most favorite stuffed animal behind (a fluffy giraffe named Joshie) at the Ritz, his father called to let them know. Instead of simply shipping Joshie back to the boy, the staff dressed him up and took him around the Ritz for a VIP tour. They snapped photos of the giraffe lounging by the pool, working in loss prevention and receiving the deluxe treatment at the spa. The boy received Joshie a few days later along with a detailed account of the animal’s stay at the Ritz.
Not only have these stories been shared with the family and friends of those who experienced these moments of exceptional customer service, but they’ve been circulated for years across various social media platforms. These companies went above and beyond what was expected of them—they went that extra mile. By doing so, they obtained a wealth of free marketing, social media advertising, lifelong customers, repeat business and an incredibly positive reputation. Being extra was all it took.