In yet another fantastic post over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, I learned all about the "last mile" of customer service. Basically, the last mile is the final bit of interaction you have with a company before you each go your merry ways: i.e. Dealing with a cashier as you check out at a supermarket or arranging for a return of a product you ordered with the company's customer service representative.
As it turns out, the last mile is unbelievably crucial when it comes to leaving people with a positive (or negative) feeling about your company. If a last mile interaction is positive, you may very well create a walking, talking billboard for your biz, and if its negative, you might end up with something like this.
I really think this whole discussion is seriously right on. Without realizing it, I've pledged my "never again" credo to a number of companies that I've had negative last mile experiences with and likewise, my never ending love and devotion to those companies that just really have it all together. I know that most of us are way past "the customer is always right" sentiment, but this is actually a really good reminder about the importance of really following through (in business and in life) and remembering that our last impressions are...well...usually the most lasting.