The race is not complete if you don’t run the last mile…

The race is not complete if you don’t run the last mile…

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 18 Jan 2010, 12:10 AM – 4 Comments

I was at CES show a couple of weeks ago. The show was fascinating by all counts and in some ways it was overwhelming. The article is not about the show but I want to make a point based on a few incidents in and around the show.

First, at the show:

I visited many booths – domestic and international and was super impressed by what was in store. At one of the booths, a company from South Korea had an interesting technology that intrigued me. I wanted to learn more but unfortunately nobody there understood what I was asking. If they only had someone who was able to converse (the last mile) they would have gotten a lot out of the show.

Next, at the hotel:

Hari (founder and CEO of Jiffle) and I were staying at Excalibur and were checking out from the hotel at 5am. Hari decided to use the checkout option on the hotel TV. It took us through a series of steps and finally gave us a message that you can make use of “express checkout” on TV only between 6am to 11am.

lastly, at the check in counter at JetBlue:

We were early at the airport and the counter was not open. But the automated check-in option at the terminal was open. Hari and I were wondering how could the logistics work as we do need someone to pick up our bags after we complete the checkin procedures. But we wanted to go ahead and try it anyway.

The system took all our information and in the last screen printed a “Oops” ticket and asked us to take it to the counter and give it to an agent. Remember that the counter was not open.

No race is complete without running the last mile.

A time for you to revisit your own actions. The question to ask is:

Are you sure your helping your customers in the last mile?

Have a great day.


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4 Comments so far, Add Yours

RaviC  on January 18th, 2010

Thought provoking post Rajesh. What puzzles me is the other side of the equation that makes the decision of not helping their customers for the last mile. Is it a concious one or they are not aware?

I still remember my car battery being drained out in Disney Land. It was about 10:00pm in the night, we were tired and ready to go back to the Hotel. Disney Land had battery assistance folks. I got timely help; within few minutes we were on our way to the hotel. What would have been a painful last mile experience (that too with a tired little one), Disney Land turned our nightmare into pleasant surprise. Even now Disney Land equates to “Service Excellence” in our minds.

RyanD  on January 18th, 2010

One of the most common pieces of advice for startups is to push out their product/service when it is good enough and then focus on tweaking it later. Trying to attain perfection will prevent you from ever getting it out the door.

On the other hand when it comes to these large established corporations, the little things and the “last mile” should absolutely be covered. They have the funds, time and money to make sure their customers are satisfied to the fullest extent.

@RaviC, in my opinion these companies may have the mindset that “Wow, look at the convenient/modern services we are offering to our beloved customers. This express check-out or check in service is going to really wow them. The accessibility and availability of these options will outweigh any little bug.”

Thanks Rajesh for the observation

alford215  on January 19th, 2010

Sir, I would consider it a privilege if you would allow me to proofread your stuff FOR FREE anytime you so desire. In this way, we can both truly go the LAST MILE. “Are you sure your (should be you’re)…

Measure for Success « Active Garage  on January 20th, 2010

[…] And from a business perspective here is a an insight to what it means to Run the Last Mile of the Race. […]

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