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What does going the Extra Mile really mean?

I have been thinking about this idea of “going the extra mile” and wondering what does it mean and what does it really look like?

When I consider the little things we do for our customers and colleagues, I came to the realization that it’s a good idea for us to challenge ourselves about whether these are really “extras” or just the basics of good quality customer service. For instance:

  • Is it “going the extra mile” for a customer when we smile and greet them heartily when they visit one of our locations?
  • Is it “going the extra mile” to help a customer load or unload his or her truck?
  • Is it “going the extra mile” when we happily do a late delivery, or a night service call or exchange?
  • Is it “going the extra mile” when we take a sincere interest in others and ask about their job, their family, or what they got up to on the weekend?
  • When we remember someone’s name, is that really “going the extra mile?”

Some people would answer “yes, of course!” to all of the above. And maybe that seems reasonable, and of course it’s very good when we consistently do these things. But what if these, and the many other ways in which we interact positively with others, are really just the bare minimum of delivering a great experience to our customers and colleagues every day?

What does it really look like to go above and beyond? To exceed expectations every time in every interaction?

To me, “going the extra mile” means making a huge effort. To push yourself beyond perceived personal limits. To leave it all out there on the field. To finish completely exhausted and entirely fulfilled.

What does “going the extra mile” look and feel like to you?

Doug Dougherty

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