Going the Extra Mile to Strengthen Customer Relationships

I was in need of a break.

001H8178It snowed here in Connecticut last week. I am by no means afraid of driving in the snow, but after a enduring a harrowing experience en route to college in Vermont one winter—a taxi merging onto the highway didn’t yield to me during a snowstorm so I slammed on my brakes and 360’d across two lanes of traffic, coming to rest in a soft, snowy ditch—I try to avoid it when possible. I’m still driving that endearing jalopy of a 2001 Nissan Altima, so that day I worked from home, sights set on proving Marissa Mayer wrong. (If you’ll remember, earlier this year, after taking the reins at Yahoo, Mayer famously forbade her employees from working from home.)

As a diehard Yankees fan, I was still stung by the news that franchise second baseman Robinson Cano had opted to take his talents to Seattle, thanks in part to his new agent Jay Z seeking to make a big name for himself in his latest professional endeavor. And he did, helping Cano land a 10-year, $240 million contract, the third largest in baseball history.

Normally I don’t answer phone calls from numbers I’m unfamiliar with, but for whatever reason I decided to pick this one up. Around 4 p.m. that day I received a call from a nice guy who identified himself as a sales associate from the New York Yankees. I had no idea why someone from the organization would be calling me out of the blue.

But in need of a break, I had a nice 10- or 15-minute chat with this guy talking about all things Yankees. How was the team going to resolve the closer situation? The additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran were certainly nice, but are they enough? And what’s up with the second base situation? Do we even have to talk about Alex Rodriguez?

After offering both of our analyses on the team—after all, there was a point to this call—the sales associate thanked me for repeatedly coming out to Yankee Stadium and offered me his services as a personal team representative in the Bronx. Should I need it—he wasn’t at all pushy—the guy said he’d be able to offer me discounts on tickets for the 2014 season or let me tour the stadium when virtually no one was there.

Obviously, like any other organization, the New York Yankees need to make money. I’m not naïve: The purpose of the phone call was for some of that money to come from my wallet. I was honest with the guy: I’m certainly not a millionaire and told him he won’t be padding his pockets from any commissions he might receive from me. He insisted that wasn’t the point of the call and continued showcasing what kind of deals I could get because of my repeated patronage over the years, regardless of whether I wanted to catch a couple games from the upper deck or sit behind home plate all season.

What can I say? It was a pleasant, brief phone call. I’m a Yankees fan, and I will be going to games in 2014. But before I do, I’ll be sure to get in touch with my new personal contact.

It just goes to show how companies stand to benefit from simply going the extra mile and appealing to customers on a personal level.