What it means to go the “Extra Mile” in Customer Service

May 20, 2016

The term “going the extra mile” is a very old expression. It describes individuals who provide great customer service whether it’s over the phone, in person or via email. It comes down to basically doing more than is expected, trying a little harder and going above the norm. This is a great concept for customer service and is further enhanced by the saying “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile”. This is a terrific metaphor that can be used in a variety of ways and is especially applicable to the business world or service industry, and specifically the concept of the overall customer experience.
Going the extra mile is about going above and beyond and getting more than you thought you were paying for or expecting. For example, it’s the extra time a salesperson spends helping you make the right selection or the customer support rep that takes an extra few minutes to ensure you have all of your questions answered and won’t need to call back.
Below are some examples of how you can go that extra mile for the customer.
1. Get to Know Your Customers
Great interactions begin with knowing what your customers want and need. Customers love the personalization and attention you give them. Because of this, it’s a good idea to know all of your customers by memorizing their names as well as prior conversations you’ve had with them. Take note of what was discussed earlier so that you can refer to it the next time you meet with the customer.
2. Consistency
Your customers want to know exactly what to expect, and would like to know that whenever you have communication with them, it will be the same positive experience. The simplest way to build consistency for your customers is to develop consistency within your company.
This is usually achieved by way of regular standards training for all of your employees. You should communicate your values to the people in your company, ensuring they all understand the impression you intend to portray along with the high level of customer service expected from them. You will need to assess this regularly to see how effectively this is being implemented in the field by monitoring phone calls and getting feedback from existing customers.
3. Correct Your Mistakes
The act of avoiding responsibility for your mistakes is a sure way of getting a bad reputation not only for you, but for the company as well. Just like transparency is important in a business, customer service is no different. No matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement. This is where getting feedback from customers becomes very useful. There may be a tiny mistake or issue in your company that customers are getting irritated by and you’re not aware of it. Therefore, always strive for high-quality output with customer feedback as it shows you have high standards and care about the customer experience. Develop a reputation for reliability; never make a pledge or a guarantee that you cannot honor. For example, let’s say you have a company called XYZ which helps customers set up a living trust and other legal documents. The Company has a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a “Peace of Mind Review” to make sure all the information is correct and accounted for. Customers like to know that if there is a problem, the company has some type of commitment or guarantee in place which will help protect them.
4. Find out your Customers’ Needs and Wants
All of your customers’ needs will differ; therefore, you need to make sure you assess each customer individually. For some individuals it may appear that money and time is not an issue, but this is not always the case. You can try dealing with both types of customers the same way, but it probably won’t be very effective. This can result in setting up lots of barriers and in turn, upsetting the customer. Rather, you may find it best to communicate with the customer to discover precisely what they want and ways to deliver it effectively. This is best achieved by questioning your customers to find out exactly what they want and need from you in the customer service arena.
5. Stay Organized
It’s can be easy to lose track in a very busy environment such as in a high call volume center and forget to carry out a seemingly small task, but it’ll be that one small memory lapse which comes back as a problem.
Therefore, it’s vital that you stay organized. You are probably asking how best to stay organized? It’s actually very simple with a list containing all of your ‘To Do’ tasks prioritized for the day. There are usually a certain amount of tasks that need to be completed each day, but there are even more that come up unexpectedly and need to be addressed immediately. Don’t rely solely on your memory; keep a running list throughout the day so that nothing slips through the cracks. It is also a good idea to have some type of priority system in place in which the most urgent issues will need to be resolved within 24 hours. If you follow this list closely, you’ll find that you will never let a customer down.
6. Promotional Items
If possible, it can be a good idea to give your customers some type of seasonal promotional gift/s. Consider sending them a coffee mug, letter opener, or some other item with your company information attached. You can also thank your customers for their business and commitment by offering special customer loyalty discounts, promotions or simply by sending them a nice card or handwritten note.
In closing, going the extra mile will not only result in a much happier customer, it can also go a long way in terms of keeping your business growing as well as staying on their radar for future opportunities and business.

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