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That little extra…

In today’s economy, consumers increasingly scrutinize the “value for price paid” of a product or service. While extraordinary customer service adds value, many service organizations miss opportunities to provide the “little extras” that create value in the minds of their customers.

Companies that recognize the value of offering “little extras,” and are intentional about incorporating them into the customer experience, can elevate the quality of their customer service. These value-added extras are frequently unexpected and so provide a pleasant surprise that forms a lasting positive impression on customers.

Here are some examples of “little extras” that I have experienced as a customer:

  • Chick-fil-A, a quick service restaurant, provides a mint with each order—similar to full service restaurant.
  • Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza gives me a two-stamp head start on my pizza loyalty card. Now I’m 17 percent closer to a free pizza!
  • Tony’s Market in Denver, CO includes preparation instructions on its meat packaging (e.g., oven/grill temps, meat temps, etc.).
  • A New York City hotel I visited encourages its front desk clerks to spontaneously send guests “Connection Cards” intended to welcome them, acknowledge something they shared during their check-in (e.g., where they are from, the reason for their hotel stay, the Broadway show they plan to see, etc.), and provide the clerk’s name and extension number for further assistance.
  • The General Motors dealership that services my car always washes it before pulling it around front and delivering it to me.
  • Our garbage collector always brings the trashcans from the curb to the top of our driveway.
  • The Wine Experience Cafe & World Cellar in Aurora, CO serves its coffee tableside in French presses.
  • Starbucks Coffee on occasion offers complimentary samples of ground coffee, pastries, and specialty coffee drinks.
  • The professional waiters at Sparks Steak House in New York City are adept at changing the table linens between entrée and dessert courses without removing your wine glasses or exposing the tabletop.

Sometimes these “little extras” are tangible (e.g., Chick-fil-A’s mints) and other times they are intangible aspects of the service experience (e.g., the changing of table linens at Sparks Steak House). In most cases they are unexpected and have the power to transform routine and ordinary transactions into unique and extraordinary service experiences!

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary really is that little extra.

What “little extras” do you offer your customers?

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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