Have you ever been dining at a restaurant and received a free appetizer compliments of the chef? Or, maybe you were at your favorite coffee shop and the owner lets you know the drink is on the house. It's a small gesture--yes, but the ripple effects of this pleasant surprise are lasting.
In Berkeley, there is a restaurant called The Cheese Board Collective. At The Cheese Board, they serve only one kind of pizza per day (always vegetarian). Compared with any other pizza place, The Cheese Board may seem like it is willingly putting itself at a disadvantage. Yet, if you've ever waited in the line at The Cheese Board, you know this is not the truth.
I've only eaten pizza from The Cheeseboard twice. Both times I was happy to discover one or two small "extra slices" served with my order. The pizza at the Cheese Board is very good, but I wouldn't describe it as the best pizza of my life. Yet, as the line eagerly waits, sometimes down the street and around the block, I can't help but feel that The Cheese Board's habit of overdeliverying has something to do with its notable success.
Overdeliverying is simple way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Also, pleasantly surprising your customers makes them feel special, and builds loyalty. When was the last time you gave more effort that was required? The results may be more than you expected.