It was a hot day in Houston, almost 100oF, and I decided that since I didn’t have a functioning car I might as well walk to the nail shop. The flaw in my thinking was that the nail shop was quite a distance to walk in such heat on a road that isn’t pedestrian friendly. Halfway through the walk I realized my mistake, but I kept going. On arriving to the nail shop the owner says she recognized me on the road but wasn’t aware of where I was going and she promised me a ride back home. I sit there, enjoy a massage, and my regular treatments. During the period I strike up conversation with a woman who has two toddlers but makes the 45 minute drive to the nail shop just to get her nails done by the owner and her employees; I hear about other customers who come from far and wide ranging from 45 minutes – 1.5 hours away. The lady who was sitting next to me, Mrs. 45 minutes, once drove 2 hours in hurricane related traffic.
Sitting through the whole experience I kept asking myself what was so special about this place that people traveled so far to come to get their nails done. I didn’t have to look hard to get the answer. A lady came in asking for a pretty design, all she could think of was some slashes and she was shown a design that absolutely delighted her – it had slashes (stripes) and dots in three different colors. Another lady came with her two young daughters, and the owner personally did her nails and the nails of her girls while having conversation with her like she was an old friend. And of course there was me, the woman without a car in the Houston Summer. Once my services were done the owner took me home in her white Mercedes SUV. The make of the car doesn’t have any bearing on this, but it was the first time I was in a Mercedes SUV so bear with me.
What did I learn? I learned that you need to keep your promises (your basic value proposition), but you also need to go beyond. The store promised me a nail job that I would show off and they delivered, but the owner went beyond by taking me home because she knew it was a long uncomfortable walk. The other people who came there had their not-fully-formed visions fully realized and mothers and daughters left with nice designed and well done nails.
Being able to go beyond like this requires that you know your customers, listen to them, and keep your eyes open for chances to improve on the experience that you currently provide.
So keep your promises and whenever you have the opportunity to, take it a step further and go beyond.