“Going the extra mile is a result of one’s values.”
The idiom, “Go the extra mile”, means to do or make an effort that’s beyond or more than what is expected or required. Due to the simplicity of what it means, many will take on the meaning per se. Most will agree that to go the extra mile, you have to go above and beyond. Some will even go to the extent of risking “life and limb”. The common pitfall is due to the flawed understanding on what “going the extra mile” really is and what it means to the company, to the employees, and most especially to the customers.
Going the extra mile is not just an action. It’s a result of one’s values.
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
– Stephen Covey
Every conscious act is influenced by our mind-set. Our mind-set is influenced by our thoughts and values. Our initial set of values are formed in our early years in childhood and largely influenced by our experiences and learnings. The more we get older and able to think on our own, some of our values stick and some may change.
If going the extra mile is not is part of your company values and/or service values, then be very cautious in telling your employees to go the extra mile. If you do, you can expect them to just blindly comply, but ask questions like, “What’s in it for me?” or “Do I get something extra by doing it?” You may even receive complaints like, “Why should I do it? It’s not part of my job.” What makes the situation worse is if you fail to clearly explain what they need to do to go the extra mile. Employees who do not have a clear direction on what needs to be done and what’s expected from them become a hazard to your company instead of being an asset.
On the other hand, if it is part of your company and/or service values, then you have to ensure that this value is clearly inculcated in their heart and mind. They have to accept the value and believe that it is an essential part of their role in providing service to customers and even colleagues. This value needs to be consistently developed so that it becomes part of everything they do every day. Any action that emerges from one’s values will be executed with utmost excellence and will not require anything in return.
We would want our customers to have a great experience every time they transact business with us. Will going the extra mile further heighten customer satisfaction? Unfortunately, studies and researches have shown that going the extra mile does not entirely ensure each customer will be extremely satisfied. However, most customers do appreciate the “extras” that they receive. Regardless if it does not intensify customer satisfaction, going the extra mile is a value and we exhibit this in our actions because it is the right thing to do.
What does “going the extra mile” exactly mean to customers? We have to clearly and accurately define what this means to customers and what exactly do they expect when you go the extra mile. You might just be squandering time, effort, and even cost trying to go the extra mile, but is not even making a slight dent on your customers. Believe it or not, customers do not expect you to sacrifice “life and limb” to go the extra mile. Most customers appreciate more simple things that make them feel valued. By doing so, you are building on a reputation that makes your brand stand out from your competitors.