The Art of Being Extraordinary

In Chronicles of a CEO by Rebecca Liston


Suzanne Evans, business coach and marketing maven, held a conference in Orlando a few years back. She sold t-shirts that said: “I am f***ing extraordinary!”

Now, since I am also pretty well known for my own potty mouth, you can bet I wear my shirt with pride!

I love my shirt and I love the message.

I believe that it is not “good enough” to be “good” at what we do.

It is not “good enough” to provide “good service.”

It is imperative that we be extraordinary and that we provide extraordinary service.

Why? Because our clients deserve to be treated by extraordinarily great professionals who go the extra mile for them each and every day. Our clients deserve extraordinary service and it’s up to us to provide it!

Since I am fairly obsessed with business, I read a lot about it and right now, the theme I am focusing on in my reading is customer-centric business models. In short, how to provide extraordinary service to your customers and WOW them at every step.

Here are some of the best suggestions I have come across thus far:

1. In “Raving Fans,” Ken Blanchard reminds us of the necessity of going just one step beyond the expectation of your clients…consistently! So ask yourself: what do you do for your clients already? How can you take it just one small step beyond that each day?

2. In “Delivering Happiness,” Tony Hsieh declares that focusing on providing WOW service to his clients is the single-most effective way for increasing profits. He should know since he took a start-up company to mega-billions in a few short years by firmly establishing this sentiment into every aspect of his business. Ask yourself: do you consciously consider how to serve your clients better at each interaction? Does each member of your team do the same? Do you treat everyone to the same level of service? Do you recognize that even your staff and your team are your “customers” and that you must strive to serve them in an extraordinary way, too?

3. In “The Zappos Experience,” Joseph Michelli unveils the strategies involved in Tony Hsieh’s “movement” of delivering happiness at Zappos. Michelli uses several testimonials from team members and customers alike to illustrate his points. Ask yourself: if you were to poll your clients, what would they say about the level of service that you provide? And then ask them yourself! See if you were right or were you surprised? Did you learn that you are not even meeting their basic needs much less their expectations? Or did you learn that you excel at serving your clients? Either way, there is work to be done! You must reach to meet expectations, and then, once you meet them, work to raise the bar each and every day.

Now, before you get all carried away with new ideas I just want to issue a warning here. When I have previously discussed this idea of providing extraordinary service, for some reason people often think of the idea of offering discounts or giving coupons! STOP thinking that right now!

Providing extraordinary service does not mean putting yourself on sale!

It’s the extra touch – the birthday cards, thank you notes, words of encouragement. It’s the little gift of thanks for multiple referrals, the cup of tea when they enter your office, the reminder calls, and “just checking in” emails. It’s the remedy to give their child on the airplane, the magazine article you came across that really reminded you of them, the book that you know they would love and enjoy.

It’s the little things…consistently…that make for extraordinary service and that reflect the extraordinary person (and business owner) that you are!

Big love,



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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit to find out more.