Customer service: really worth going the extra mile?

It was the clear, cold, windy prelude to the next day’s blizzard and our firewood pile wasn’t going to last through the storm. I tried to call the guy around the corner with the gigantic firewood pile but could not remember the name of the company. I found the address using Google maps satellite view but even scrolling up and down the road on street view, I could not find a sign anywhere. No name, phone number or Web site. After too much time Googling the address and cross-checking the results with a likely LinkedIn profile, I thought I’d found the right guy and called.

It was the right guy.

“No, I don’t have a sign anywhere…should probably get one…”

Don’t say anything about marketing – just get the wood.

“On Saturday? Sure, I can deliver it tomorrow.”


The truck arrived right on time. He dumped the firewood in the right spot. It was the right size and mostly oak and maple.


Had I finally found a reliable firewood guy that delivers quality wood on time? I was ready to start moving and stacking as much of it as possible before the snow could bury the rest.

That was when I noticed one piece of wood still in the truck bed. One piece out of a cord isn’t a big deal but I saw this as a test of whether he really was, in fact, the right guy worthy of the vendor bulletin board.

“There’s one left on the side.”

“Yeah, sometimes it can get stuck.”

Did he climb up and get it, like other firewood guys have done? Like you, dear reader, and I would have done?


Going the extra mile wouldn’t have required much effort, especially since he’d only driven a mile for the delivery. Instead of fishing out the piece of wood, he drove away – for the first and last time.



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Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life explores every facet of marketing from advertising, PR and lead generation to content marketing, direct response and the latest in marketing automation – and more. Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life provides real-life insight into the relationship among sales, marketing, and customer service – and the customer – plus quick commentary from epr founder, Paul Entin.