Is it worth going the extra mile?

That last bit of effort

Most of us have encountered many situations where we need to make a decision: do we want to put in just a little bit more effort or should we just let it go. There is the project proposal that we have been working on for days. Should we do another spell-check, should we have somebody else take another look at it? And there is one of our customers. Should we invite him for a quick cup of coffee despite our busy schedule? There are many situations. Unfortunately, we are often tempted to take the easy route.

A small investment

In many cases, we should make that little bit of extra investment. The potential pay-back is just too big. And it’s usually a relatively tiny investment of our time and effort. I was reminded of that the other day while I was out biking. My house is at 550m altitude (1804 ft). Within a mile there are a bunch of sunflower fields. They are all in full bloom right now. It is gorgeous. There is a town on my cycling route that is just ten miles away. It’s located at 590m (1935ft) altitude. The fields were completely green this past Sunday. Not a single yellow sunflower bloom. A minor difference in temperatures due to the proximity to the Alps and the altitude. (This town actually has more snow in winter than we do).


Not going the extra mile has inherent risks. I flew back from a conference a few weeks ago and wasn’t feeling well. The staff on the flight seemed to be a bit off as well. Dealing with an arrogant and unfriendly staff was the last thing that I needed. Was it really that difficult for them to bring me a second cup of coffee? Was it that hard to greet me with a smile? Was it that difficult to apologize for the water they spilled on me? I doubt it. What could have been a nice experience (I was upgraded) turned out to be a real mood spoiler. I have booked several upcoming trips on other airlines since that experience.

Make the effort

Going the extra mile does pay off in many cases. The required effort is usually small. Why don’t we do it more often then?





2 responses to “Is it worth going the extra mile?”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Good customer service seems to be a rarity these days and yet it can change your perspective on your entire experience with an individual or organisation. The airline industry in particular seems prone to extremes – an on-time service can turn horrid when the crew refuse you a cup of tea. And yet the polar opposite is also true – a flight delay is quickly forgotten with complimentary wine and a jovial crew (hopefully not from partaking in the wine)!

    There’s a quote I have written across my desktop – “The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.” Whether you’re an individual or organisation – if you can get yourself to go the extra mile as you so eloquently suggest, customers/managers/partners/vendors are going to respond in kind.

  2. Definitely agree! Think this is more important than ever for high street retailers as shopping experience now plays a massive factor on where people shop.