On this week’s trip to the UK, my colleagues and I dashed to a local supermarket for a grab-and-go lunch. We went to the deli in the back of the store but found only salads and hot items–no sandwiches. When my colleague asked the woman behind the counter to for assistance, she told us to follow aisle 31 to the front of the store and then look to the right. Friendly, helpful–what more we ask, right?

The woman surprised us all when she further offered to walk with us to make sure we found the sandwich cooler. We politely declined, but my colleagues and I walked to the front of the store smiling. 

I’ve been thinking about that gesture ever since. That kind of service is rarely found in the US, especially in large-scale supermarket chains. But really, why not? It didn’t cost the deli employee more than the extra effort of making the offer, and even if we had taken her up on it, she could have been to the sandwich cooler and back in less than a minute. A little effort can yield disproportionate returns. The formula for great customer service–and satisfied customers–seems so simple that it baffles me how infrequently it is executed. Go a little bit out of your way today and let me know what happens.