The mile between satisfied and loyal. The EXTRA mile.
Have you ever heard the phrase, He went the extra mile?
I want to talk to you about the “extra mile” in a way that you might understand it and use it to build customer loyalty.
The extra mile is an action or an expression that sparks a WOW! in the mind of the customer or a co-worker. It’s an unexpected deed. But before an extra mile is ever walked or executed, it has to be an attitude and a mindset from the extra miler.
I want to talk about where the extra mile comes from, where extra mile stories are created and how powerful they are, and how those extra mile stories create the foundation for a company that goes from good, to great, to world class — using the power and the strength of internal and external loyalty, combined with doing the right thing — no, let me say, doing the best thing for your fellow associates, your customers, and yourself.
The extra mile comes from YOU. And extra mile stories come from you — based on your ability to react, respond, recover, and add plus one using your best skills in time of need.
The interesting part about the extra mile is that it usually begins when something goes wrong or is in urgent need of attention. The weather. The service call. The broken equipment. The inventory. The delivery. Co-worker needs. Customer needs. Or when incidents or accidents occur that are beyond your control when they happen — but in your control in the way that you respond to them, and the way you react to them.
The underlying element in the extra mile is your prevailing attitude at the moment an extra mile opportunity shows up. If you’re in a bad mood, or a down mood, based on other things that have happened throughout your day, the odds are, when an opportunity arises to turn something bad into something great, you won’t even see it. You’ll look at it as “one more thing in a bad day.”
Let’s get one thing straight: Bad days are self-inflicted. You give them to yourself. And it’s likely when you give them to yourself; you’re also giving them to others. In order for an extra mile incident to occur, and an extra mile story to blossom, YOU, the most important person in the world, must be mentally prepared to make it occur and make it blossom.
You’ve all heard the phrase, “Every obstacle presents an opportunity.” You’ve also heard, “When it rains lemons, make lemonade.” Those are easy phrases to talk about when there are no obstacles, and it’s NOT raining lemons.
Your challenge is to have a bowl of sugar and a lemon squeezer at your desk at all times, and in your mind at all times, so that when someone calls with a complaint, with an emergency, or with an obstacle of any kind — your first thought is, “What is the real opportunity here?” And your second thought is “How can I help?”
And as with all of my lists, there’s a .5 — and the extra mile measurement .5 is “AM I DOING MY BEST?” That’s not just the question you have to ask yourself — that is the mantra by which you guide your career and your life.
Doing your best and having the right attitude is the only way the extra mile process works. It works because you make it work. It happens because you make it happen.
I’m going to make you a promise: There’s one extra mile story in you every week. Your job is to recognize it, document it, learn from it, and get into the personal habit of being an extra mile person. Once you do this, you won’t have to tell your own extra mile story — people will begin to tell them about you.
Customer loyalty comes about when you take loyal actions on behalf of the customer. It’s not the everyday things – it’s the everyday things done BEST. And when you combine “best every day” with “extra mile whenever possible” you have the formula for loyalty.
The secret has already been revealed twice in this column, but I want to be certain you get it. Best actions and extra mile actions are only possible when your mindset and attitude are set on positive.
All things are possible in your life and in your career, if you will only dedicate yourself to the continuing process of thinking you’re best, being your best, and going the extra mile.
If you want my formula for loyalty, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words LOYALTY FORMULA in the GitBit box.