Going the extra mile is an idiomatic metaphor for describing an extra effort to please a customer. It may sound like a management legend until experiencing it.
My little story could have been a scenario base for a Hollywood Christmas movie, but it was only my experience as a stranded Frenchman in Great Britain. With a happy ending, nevertheless.
It started with a traffic jam on one of the infamous British motorways, a late December afternoon, leading to miss my Eurostar train to get back home in Paris.
The taxi driver did his best to catch up, jeopardizing his driver’s licence and potentially our lives dashing on the heavy-traffic motorway and later in the narrower roads to the station. Despite all his efforts, he dropped me too late and… on the wrong side of the station.
When I managed to get out of the taxi at Ashford International station, my train had left very few minutes before. The last train stopping there that day.
In the hall, the Eurostar counter was closed and nobody in sight. While mentally searching for a solution a door opened and a lady in Eurostar uniform appeared. I briefly explained her my situation and the lady kindly accepted to help me, opening the closed counter and restarting a computer.
I immediately felt treated like a customer expects to be, but seldom is, more accustomed to see service providers, vendors and suppliers try to escape the chores, especially if they are not really supposed to do what you’re asking for.
My helping lady went through a seemingly painful IT process to exchange my ticket, which was a bit special, keeping her temper, positive mind and friendliness.
After getting my ticket for the next train the next morning, I asked if there was a hotel nearby. I prepared myself to ask the very same question one of the waiting taxi drivers, not really expecting this information from my helping lady.
To my surprise, not only did she recommend a nearby Bed & Breakfast, but offered to call them and check for vacancy and after this was done, took time and great care to explain me how to get there on foot, dragging my luggage. She even suggested me places to have a dinner!
That was customer care!
This lady indeed walked the extra mile and as we were not in a Hollywood Christmas movie, I assume she was truly engaged in her job.
I did get home eventually (that’s my happy end of the story) and hope the company recognizes the value of such engaged employees.
To this lady, again: my deepest gratitude.