Going the extra mile

Yes, that's me as a travel agent, sitting at my desk back in 1986. (Check out my computer!)

Yes, that's me as a travel agent, sitting at my desk back in 1986. (Check out my computer!)

When your company under promises and over delivers, you will create experiences and memorable moments for your clients that will affect their habits for a lifetime.

Do you remember the last time you received a bit more than you expected?

Maybe you were shopping online for your groceries and when you unpacked your delivery you found a couple of free samples or an extra loaf of bread?

There's a good chance that, even though these occasions may be rare, when they do happen you don't forget them.  You might even tell your family and friends about it.

In the 1980's, back when I was a young travel agent, we didn't have computer-generated boarding passes like we do now.  In fact, we didn't even write the airline tickets ourselves.  We had to order them directly from the airline.  As a result, ticket delivery could be quite unreliable.

As a young travel agent, It didn't take me long to realise this.

So if an airline told me tickets were due on a Thursday, I would tell my clients they were due on the Tuesday of the following week.  Then, if the tickets were late, I still had a few days up my sleeve.

Sometimes the tickets would arrive on time, or only a day late, in which case I would call my client and let them know they were ready to collect. 

This was my favourite part.  Calling a client to let them know their tickets were available earlier than they expected usually resulted in a squeal of delight (and surprise) from the client - and it made me look extremely efficient.

Either way, early or on time, I always looked good and my clients were never disappointed or kept waiting.

The trick is, knowing what you can and can't do.

Making a promise you can't keep is no way to build a relationship, a business, or a career.

Only you know what you are capable of, so focus on what you do well. 

Establish what your client wants and attempt to manage their expectations.

Go the extra mile to give them a bit more than they wanted and always set realistic timeframes.

Don't over-commit yourself and allow yourself some extra time for those unexpected roadblocks.

This is not manipulation, but rather an honest self-assessment and reasonable communication.

Deliver more than you said you would and you become the hero.

At the very least, you should always strive to deliver exactly what you promised.


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