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February 04, 2010

The Extra Mile

By Paul Kirch, PRC

We all hear, “go the extra mile,” but how many of us really know what that means? Well, I can tell you that, recently, I experienced a company that knows exactly what that means. For years, I have been an avid golfer. Okay, I’ve taken some breaks from the game, but have always had a deep love for it since I first felt that feeling of crushing a huge drive. There is [almost] no greater feeling than hitting the sweet spot of your driver and watching the ball just explode off of the club. If only we amateurs could do it perfectly every time. I guess that’s what separates us from the pros and keeps us tied to our careers instead of making a living chasing a little white ball around a golf course.

Like many golfers, I’ve tried various things to improve my game over the years. For the most part, I don’t buy into a lot of gimmicky training aids. I do, however, have three that I have owned for several years. My favorite aid is my Taylor Made Speed Stik, which I’ve owned for about six years. This is a very simple looking straight bat that is the length of a standard driver. On the end is a speed gauge that shows you how fast you’re swinging. I really use the product for the two purposes for which it was designed. The first is flexibility. Since I’m not getting any younger, I use this product to stretch my back and legs and keep from getting stiff. The other purpose is to increase swing speed. The faster you swing, the farther you can hit the ball off of the tee. Recently, when my speed was measured by a PGA instructor, I was swinging between 105-108 MPH with my driver. This is definitely higher than average, especially for an amateur. However, when I used my Speed Stik, the speed was showing more than 140 MPH. Only in my wildest dreams could I achieve that, since that would exceed what Tiger Woods can accomplish (his is approximately 120). Therefore, I knew the gauge was not working properly.

I called up Taylor Made and asked if I could buy a replacement gauge. I told the person on the phone what the problem was and I even told him how long I had owned mine. Any warranty would have surely passed, right? He said, “No problem, Mr. Kirch, I’m going to send you a new one today. You should have it in two days.” So, I asked how I put the new gauge in. He replied, “Actually, I’m going to send you a new Speed Stik, so you won’t have to mess with that.” Wow! I’m still in shock, but this is really above and beyond, and shows an example of going the extra mile. His final comment to me really solidified this when he stated, “I’m a golfer, and I understand why this is an issue, so we’re going to take care of you. Just remember Taylor Made next time you look at new equipment.” Believe me, I will do just that. I don’t change equipment very often, but when I do, I will definitely look at their products very seriously.

Creating loyalty means connecting with your customers and exceeding expectations. I’m not telling you that you have to give something away, but the above example is clearly an “extra mile” that we all talk about. What are you doing for your clients? Are you connecting with them by being sympathetic? As an example, “I’ve been a buyer of research and I understand your frustration” is something your clients probably don’t hear very often. Showing you can relate and backing that up with sympathetic solutions is a great way to going the extra mile and beyond.

Paul Kirch, PRC is the president/CEO of ActusMR, Inc.

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