Make sure to do more than expected for your clients (and referral sources). But, really make sure to never do less than they expect.

While traveling to Buffalo on business, I rode in from the airport with a cab driver who asked when I would be flying out, and offered to pick me up at my hotel. I took his card and called him the night before, and sure enough he was on time and off we went. Approaching the airport he asked when I was coming back and that he again would meet me, if I called him ahead of time.

Then, the disappointment. It was a cold, drizzly winter morning (it’s that or snow in Buffalo in March), and reaching the terminal, he just sat there. I got out and in the wet damp conditions retrieved my own bag from the trunk. He didn’t move. Consequently, his business card was prompted tossed into a circular file en route to security.

Ari Kaplan reported a different experience involving a cab ride in his recent eNewsletter:

“I was in a taxi and the driver generously offered me a bottle of water. After a few questions, he admitted that he always provides water for his passengers because it increases the potential tip an average of 15-20%. It also prompts a future ride. His practice is to buy a case of water at Sam’s Club for $5 and store individual bottles in a cooler in the glove compartment.”

When was the last time a cabbie offered you a bottle of water. Me, never. What a great example of value-added service. Why? One reason is that it was so totally unexpected. On the other hand, my driver did less than expected.

When is the last time you did more than your client expected? Obviously, you should make sure to never do less.