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I am constantly reminded in my daily business activities of how taking small steps above and beyond the “status-quo” can catapult you the proverbial “extra mile”. Many times we have to go the extra mile to gain the extra mile. Sometimes, however we can achieve it with just a few small steps!
I received an email from an end user of one of my software products. This elderly gentleman was not computer “savvy” and he indicated this in his email to me. He asked if there was a remedy for his dilemma and he suggested that one option was to send him a blank printed copy of the program.
The “status-quo” response from me could have been to comply with his request and be done with this, but having the time available (more on this in a moment), I chose to take this opportunity to take a couple of small steps outside “status-quo” and provide some good ole’ personal customer service.
I emailed this gentleman, that I would be happy to personally help him install the software program on his computer. I asked him to reply with a good time and phone number to reach him. His reply email to me was very interesting. First he said thank you for such a quick response and secondly he asked me a very interesting question…ready. “Are you the owner of the company?”
When we made contact via the phone, I discovered this very nice gentleman lived in a very rural area of Minnesota. He had received our product from his local bank. After about one hour of step-by-step instructions, we had him completely taken care of and ready to go. He was most appreciative.
Here are some points I want to make.
• When we talked on the phone, I asked the gentleman about his question regarding my position at the company. I told him I was in fact the owner. His response caught me off guard for a moment. He stated it was rare to get such a quick reply and especially from someone in my position from a company that provides products and services nationally. Hmmm, great personal service from the owner of a company. Have we grown to BIG that this is becoming an obsolete protocol of business?
• I had the time to take the extra steps and chose to do so. Notice the word “chose”? It was my personal choice to take the time to help him. Now STOP! I understand there may be many times, your world is so busy, that you simply cannot find time to take any extra steps at all. The point is, when you do have the time…you choose to take the opportunity and run with it!
• The client who provided this program to the end user is not one of my larger clients regarding the amount of fee income they provide me. Looking at this scenario from a financial perspective only, the time I spent here probably cost me money. But to me, business is more than $$ only.
Here is the beauty of this. While I was not seeking any ancillary benefits from my personal service approach other than a satisfied customer, I did gain a huge one. A couple of days later I received a phone call from the vendor that provides my software program to the banks. They informed me that this gentleman I assisted had contacted his bank expressing his appreciation for providing the program because of the service he had gained from the owner of the company.
The vendor was very pleased with this result. He concluded his conversation by saying and I quote: “This is the reason we have worked so well together over the years, and the reason we will do so for many years to come…
An extra mile forward for my company, from a simple effort to take a few extra small steps.