Saturday, October 15, 2011

Going the Extra Mile: Going to Make Awesome

During work last week, I performed a routine task which involved delivering boxes of computer equipment to the administrative office of the children's hospital. All that was expected of me was to load the stuff onto a delivery cart, schlep the cart few buildings away, and drop off the boxes at the destination in a timely manner and without incident.

When I arrived at the customer's office to deliver the goods, the customer informed me that she had an urgent issue to go take care of elsewhere in the building, and asked me to store the boxes and to lock the door on my way out. After the customer had rushed out the door, I did my deed and was ready to exit the area. Then I heard a knock on the door. Through the window, I spotted an office supply delivery person on the other side, holding a hand cart stacked with boxes. I opened the door to let the guy in.

Since I was the only person in the office at the time, the guy asked me to sign for the delivery. A live person's signature was all that was required to complete the delivery, and since the goods would be stored behind locked doors after I left the office, I had no problem with contributing my digitally-crappy John Hancock on the delivery person's tablet device. After I took responsibility of verifying the delivery, he proceeded to put the boxes in different areas of the office: apparently, the guy is familiar with the layout of the office and knew where to store the goods, instead of simply leaving boxes by the receptionist's area. Pretty efficient, I thought.

After the delivery guy left, I was getting ready to leave the office myself before realizing that it might be a good idea to send a quick email to the customer to let her know that her supplies were restocked. So I pulled out my iPhone and tapped a quick message to the her. I received a response from the customer half hour later graciously thanking me for sending her a courtesy heads-up.

It felt affirming to receive a note of gratitude from my customer. Even though I didn't think that taking an extra 30 seconds out of my work time to email the customer was anything out of the ordinary, I thought about what may have happened had I not taken the time to delight the customer. Perhaps she was expecting important office supplies to arrive that day, and not having an obvious visual clue about the items being already delivered (since the supplies were stored in different areas of the suite) would cause added consternation to her already-busy workday? Maybe she would have tried calling the office supply vendor to track down the whereabouts of the goods without realizing that they were already stored in her area? All I know is that going the extra mile to make a difference for the customer added significant value to my work.

I love having opportunities to turn good (which is doing my assigned task within specifications and nothing more) into something potentially more rewarding and meaningful. Every day I want to leave good for great. If I can turn each customer interactions into opportunities to connect, understand, and learn, I'm engaging in the process of making awesome.

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