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You’ll Never Hit Traffic On The Extra-Mile Highway

You’ll Never Hit Traffic On The Extra-Mile Highway

We’ve all heard businesses claim to “go the extra mile,” when in reality very few businesses really do. But it’s not that they necessarily mean to come up short.

Why does this happen, and how can you ensure your business IS actually going that extra mile?

Well, let me answer that with two questions. Is it, “Can you go that extra mile?” or, “Will you?”’

It’s not uncommon for people to say they just can’t do something, when they actually just WON’T do something. But when a service provider tells a customer — and themselves, for that matter — that they CANNOT do something, it actually lessens the likelihood of that “thing” ever happening, because the word “can’t” is essentially a dead end, meaning, there’s no backing down from it.

But what if you take a different approach? What if you decide to go that extra mile in order to retain clients and attract more business as well? The extra mile is your opportunity. You can use it to either exceed expectations — or to fall dismally short of them.

In order to make you really think about the impact of expectations, look from the perspective of being a customer yourself. Here’s a scene that might be familiar to you: It’s past dinnertime on a weeknight and you’re really hungry — but you just don’t feel like cooking. So you and your significant other head out to a restaurant, psyched for whatever’s on the menu. You hungrily race out the door and arrive there, only to find that it’s 9:02 p.m., and that their kitchen closed at 9. The server says she’s sorry (really?) but points to the “business hours” sign and simply shrugs.

You’re not only disappointed, you’re angry, too. They couldn’t just keep their kitchen open for TWO MORE LOUSY MINUTES? Chances are, you’ll never return there — even at an earlier hour. Why? Because they did not go that extra mile (or, in this case, that extra two minutes!) for you, their customer.

The best service providers would use that same situation as an opportunity. Maybe they’d explain it’s a few minutes after they stop serving, but that they’ll make an exception for you. By doing that, they’ve delivered a great customer experience story, one that you might even share with your friends (and “share” with other “friends” on Facebook).

Here’s the takeaway: before you tell a client or prospective client that you can’t do what they want (not something unreasonable or beyond the scope of work, of course), ask yourself this: Can’t you, or WON’T you?

This is where you find yourself at a crossroads: you can refuse them, OR you can… (you know what I’m about to say, don’t you?)

GO. THAT. EXTRA. MILE.

If you do, you’ll build stronger, deeper bonds with your clients. And as a bonus? You’ll give them a great story that’s worth sharing!

Stay tuned to this space for more small business marketing tips!
Megan Smith-Gill

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