Go The Distance

Are you going the distance with customers?

The other day I was out walking when I heard a small voice in my head and it said: “Go the Distance.” That’s the phrase that Kevin Costner kept hearing in his head in the movie “Field of Dreams” and so it really caught my attention. There were a number of ways for me to interpret what it might mean.

On February 1st I was celebrating the day I took the great leap of faith and started my business 30 years ago. Was I being directed to hang in there and keep at it forever? Maybe.

Or maybe it meant that I was supposed to go further on my walk that day. It’s been a while since I added distance to that.

Or maybe it meant that although I had experienced some great customer caring after a problem with the company that is printing my updated “54 Ways” book, I was wishing they had gone the distance and made sure that the thing that was broken initially stayed fixed all the way through the final delivery to the customer.

Go the distance.

I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I found myself in a Big Mess, so big in fact that I had to jump in and make a call to the manager of managers and ask for help. He helped and got a really wonderful rep on the phone with me fast. She was able to take it as far as she could technically and connected me to a really wonderful rep in customer service that could take over and bring it all home for me.

I was happy. Oh so happy. So happy indeed that I sat down late Friday evening to write an email acknowledging these wonderful people in email to their boss, copying them of course.

I was feelin’ good and all was right with the world.

That is until Monday when I realized that the process we set up on Friday somehow got accelerated and the books that were supposed to deliver this week precisely when the client specified – got delivered last week – the one thing my client stipulated was NOT to happen. I jumped into action again and the wonderful customer service rep jumped into action again and tried to get those boxes back! But alas UPS had done their job well and they had been delivered. Way. Too. Early.

I lucked out. I called the person that was aggregating the conference materials and explained what happened and fortunately, she turned out to be wonderful as well, so I didn’t have to beg. Although it was outside their system (seems I keep requesting things that fall outside people’s systems) she would personally watch over all those customized copies of books and make sure they got to the right client along with all their other materials. She saved the day. I sent her an autographed copy of the book and thanked her from the bottom of my heart.

But here’s what I wonder about you.

Do you have wonderful and capable people who know how to treat that customer well and solve their problem with skill both technically and emotionally?

Do you have something – a system or a person – in place to watch and make sure that what you said was going to happen ACTUALLY happens?

Have you put yourself in their shoes and watch over things until you are SURE that what you promised did take place?

Delivering exquisite customer experiences takes an expertly trained and caring staff and contingency planning for the emergencies you weren’t able to envision.

In this competitive world, will you be able to go the distance?

Build it strong,



JoAnna Brandi
JoAnna Brandi
President of JoAnna Brandi & Company since 1990, JoAnna is a consultant, a public speaker and the author of two books on customer loyalty, Winning At Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal and Keep ‘em Coming Back and Building Customer Loyalty- 21 Essential Elements in Action and a gift book, 54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World. She is currently writing her fourth book on “How Good Can You Stand It? Positivity Practices that Help You Turn Happiness into a Habit” JoAnna Brandi is the Creator of the online learning experience The Practice of Positive Leadership E-Course: Use the Science of Happiness to Engage Your Employees and Keep Your Customers Happy and “Monday Morning Motivation,” a tool used to stay focused on keeping customers happy. She is a Certified Chief Happiness Officer through Florida International University and a graduate of Dr. Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness Coaching program. She has developed one and two-day workshops on Customer Care, Positive Leadership, and does Positive Leadership Coaching for individuals and groups. Positive cultures help create happy customers who come back with money and friends. JoAnna serves a diverse group of clients in many different capacities, in large companies and small alike. Working as a resource for TEC/Vistage, an international organization of CEOs for over 22 years, JoAnna has coached, consulted, and served as the “Chief Inspiration Officer” for CEOs, their executives and staffs nationwide. She is a highly rated speaker at conferences all over North America. In her workshops and keynotes, she motivates entire organizations to get passionate about customers and raise their “Positivity Ratios” at the same time. She specializes in creating more positive, strengths-based workplaces where employees are engaged and motivated and customers are happy and loyal. She helps her clients activate the link between positivity and profitability creating “great companies to work for and do business with.”

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