If your goal is to satisfy your customers, you’re aiming too low. Instead, aim to over-deliver on your promises.

Roy Flora, Group President of Microtel Inns & Suites, over-delivers by randomly giving away free stays at his hotels. Better yet, he encourages staff members to do the same. It’s one reason that Microtel has ranked at the top of the J.D. Power & Associates North America hotel guest satisfaction survey seven years in a row.

Internet clothing company Zappos over-delivers by not only offering free standard shipping… but by getting those orders to customers overnight instead of in the four to five business days they promise.

Clothing retailer L.L. Bean accepts the return of any clothing – worn or unworn, damaged or not – for years after it was bought.

And here at ETR, we are constantly thinking of new ways to over-deliver. During the past two Christmas holiday seasons, for instance, we’ve given out special advice-packed reports and never-before-seen interviews with our expert contributors. At every Bootcamp, we put together an exciting get-together – like our “sock hop” (complete with costumes and an Elvis impersonator) this past November. Plus, we offer exclusive VIP events – like our Internet Money Club annual roundtable – to our top customers.

“Your customer-service policy should be bend-over-backward,” says Michael Masterson. This means “adding features and benefits on a regular basis that surprise and delight your customers. It means getting them accustomed to being delighted every time they buy a product from you.”

What can you do to surprise and delight your customers? In a world that’s overpowered by poor service, it doesn’t take much. Simply doing something small – like answering your customer service line, in person, on the first or second ring – is enough to make your customer feel cared about. Or take a look at Microtel, Zappos, L.L. Bean, and other companies reputed for great service… and see how you can adapt their customer-service policies.

[Ed. Note: When we dreamed up our Secrets to Selling on the Internet conference, we knew it would knock the socks off anyone who attended. It’s an unprecedented chance to learn the top sales secrets of a bona fide copywriting superstar. Secrets that could help you take your business to the next level… wow your boss (and give you serious job security – a must these days!)… or get you snapped up by practically any employer. Find out how you can be part of this power-packed event right here. Hurry. Our spectacular Early Bird Discount ends soon.

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