Bump the Lamp

Go the extra mile. Why? Well if you’re a runner (of any age) you might get a cool runner’s high. Though for some, the end of the run might mean throwing up, but to others it can be euphoric. Bump the lamp is a Disney phrase that illustrates paying attention to the details that came from their movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Disney animators tediously incorporated moving shadows due to a lamp being bumped during an action scene between a live actor and a cartoon character, manually done pre-CGI. Super laborious. Would anyone even notice or care that they went to this great length incorporating details? Michael Eisner thought it did. Like Disney or not, their attention to detail is amazing both in their theme parks and animated movies.

I think the secret sauce of many successful businesses is going the extra mile. Case in point, I was waiting for a haircut at Great Clips (yes I know it’s for children and retirees). There was an older couple there and the woman went to go pay and the employee said, “No charge.” The woman was confused, “Why not?” The employee said, “I heard you mention cancer and we have a program called Clips of Kindness, which we provide free haircuts, you pay nothing.” The husband was shocked, the wife cried. They were impacted. I was impacted. Other customers were impacted. Small gesture, large impact.

Another business that comes to mind is Publix, the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the US. You could bring in old bananas and they would gladly refund your money or give you new bananas, no questions. They understand that the cost of winning/losing a customer is a lot more expensive than the cost of monkey fruit.

I’ve always noticed the quality of customer service can be discerned in a fraction of a second. Just like the Netflix series Lie to Me, there is an instant micro expression indicating which way they will go, either in your favor or not. Let’s say you bought a bottle of wine at a restaurant and you thought it tasted (without being a pretentious foodie) like carburetor fluid. When you inform the waiter, quickly look at their facial expressions. If there’s a hesitation, they’re probably going to fall on the “I’m not really going to help you, but I’m going to pretend to” side of the fence.

Going the extra mile in commercial appraising can be a challenge without successful implementation of a comp database and report writing. Typing fatigue sets in and many lose gas unable to give it their all. If I’m reviewing other appraisers’ work, I can almost identify where in the report fatigue set in, usually it’s in the Income Approach. With software and a solid template to your liking, you can go the extra mile and document valuation issues that matter to your client.

Many chief appraisers would love if appraisers had less filler boilerplate and talked more specifics about how the subject relates to its market. But as an appraiser you might be tired due to excessive wiggling of your mouse and the arduous Word doc journey. It’s hard to bump the lamp and pay attention to the details, but like Disney and Publix, they stand the test of time. What’s the ROI for you to go the extra mile for your business? Feel the buzz, bump the lamp, go the extra mile.