An Argument for Exceeding Expectations

In business and in life there’s a defining practice that separates mediocrity from excellence. It’s called going the extra mile. And it matters. I know, because we can all give examples of times when people exceeded our expectations. Usually, it makes for a memorable experience. And usually, you tell others about it.

There are hundreds of ways to go the extra mile and to create value. And as a business, there are plenty of day-to-day opportunities to outdo yourself:

  • Be available. Not every second of every day and not for menial tasks, but when it’s important, be there.
  • Give a little more. Maybe they didn’t pay for that piece of advice. Who cares? Get paid for what you’re worth, but don’t nickel and dime every aspect of the relationship. Throw in something extra. It’s a great way to create value.
  • Be positive. Don’t let yourself get hung up on the irritating and tedious parts of what you do. Focus on the bright spots and the things you love to do. Always let that side of you face customers and clients.
  • Communicate. Everyone likes to know what’s going on. Don’t make them ask.
  • Have integrity. Don’t cross your fingers and hope your client doesn’t notice that little flaw, minor change, or last minute edit that needs to be made. If you see it, do something about it. Having integrity isn’t about credit. It’s about making sure your work is done right.
  • Actually care. A company that cares about a client’s success as much (or more than) they care about their money is rare. It’s a standout feature. And it matters.

A few weeks ago I went to Sweet Cece’s (a yogurt shop down the street from me) and was in one of those, I-only-need-15-more-cents-or-I’m-going-to-have-to-break-a-$20 situations when the cashier offered not to let the 15 cents slide, but to reach into her tip jar and pull out the extra change needed to cover my yogurt. It was exceptional customer service, generous, and it made my entire night. Over 15 cents.

What you’ll find is that sometimes going the extra mile is as easy as going the extra inch. When you exceed expectations – even by a little bit – and provide a standout experience, it rarely goes unnoticed.

(Photo credit)

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