The last mile

I was reading a blog the other day about the last mile. A woman had planned a company party in advance. Making the reservations for the location, etc. Sending the invitations 2 months in advance. Ordering the catering and so forth. But when the time came, not many people showed up.

She forgot the last mile. To send the reminders.

And in some sense, this kind of customer service matters.

The last mile is the last thing one experiences in service. Your last impression. The final stretch that the company should deliver not just well, but the best. They often say the first impression matters, but the last impression is usually the one you remember the most.

I always wondered why AT&T despite how they have honed the business models well. How consumers are attracted to the plans and the array of the phones…why is the customer service so uneven and unreliable. Rude and inconsiderate even. It sounds like I am commenting on a restaurant service, but I am. Like restaurants, it doesn’t matter what I am consuming or how much I am paying, it’s the service. If the server spills water on my lap accidentally, I expect something in compensation. An apology at least. And an attempt to resolve the accident (like a napkin).

But in other places. Parties and the like, the last mile for the goal of getting people to arrive is that simple social interaction. In the several parties I have hosted, the people who are most likely to attend are the people I have interacted with one-on-one. Despite my love of the passive invitations (evite), I still go to ask people. Sometimes perhaps to the extent of bugging them.

It doesn’t matter what decorations I have or the food/drink I serve. If people aren’t happy at the party, if they aren’t interacting, if they aren’t participating, that’s the last mile. That I think is the duty and responsiblity of the host.

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