What are the Details Saying About You? (Part 2 of 2)
4 ways to make details work for you — not against you.
In part one, we talked about taking notice of the details (large and small) that are ‘saying something‘ to people about you and your business. Some of these details are already working against you and you may not even be aware of what they are – I see it all the time. So, as promised, here are four ways to begin having the details work for you:
1. Walk Through Your Own Process as Your Client
Are you seeing what your clients see? Routinely, I’ll sit for several minutes in the “client” chair to see what I see. We spend so much time in our own chairs that we forget (or neglect) to take a look at our environment through the eyes of our clients, customers and guests. Can they see dust on your computer monitor? Will they touch gum, or get poked by something sharp, as they reach under the chair to scoot it forward? Do they have a direct view of your water-deprived plants? Are they visiting your restrooms only to find them untidy and disorganized? What and where are your “stained ceiling tiles?” They’re probably in a blind spot, so your job is to find them and fix them…
2. Put Systems in Place
How customer-centric are your existing systems? I’ll bet that restaurant employee (you remember, the jumping duster from part one) didn’t just decide on his own that the wall fixtures needed a dusting. Instead, this is likely a routine duty with a clear schedule of frequency and perhaps even technique. We know that plants need water, but are yours getting the proper amount and on a particular day of the week? Is anyone checking under your chairs for gum on a routine basis? Does anyone routinely clean yourfront door; the backside of the reception desk or, most important, the restrooms? Does your receptionist smile and make eye contact when people enter? Is there an untidy pile of outgoing packages in plain view?
3. Make The Extra Effort
…Even if they never say a word about the extra little things you do (and most people won’t), they do notice. And whether it’s consciously or unconsciously those details can make or break a client experience, future business and referrals.
When I was in sales, I sent every client a birthday card (consistently, every year for 11 years, on time or early – about 120 cards each month). While most people never said a word about their card, quite a few people did tell me how it made them feel and how it helped to distinguish me from other salespeople. This small investment of time and money was providing a huge return, as just one of many “details” in my clients’ experience. (By the way, I signed each card in blue ink – a detail that shows your clients that it’s almost certainly a real signature.)
4. Ask ‘Em
Your clients are noticing valuable details that they could be sharing with you. Do you make it clear that you want to know? Comcast, Starbucks and Southwest Airlines are currently using Twitter to find out what people are saying about them; what the “word on the street” is. This way, they can swoop in as the hero when someone has a less than favorable experience with their company They learn about what happened (in real time), develop the solutions and connect with their unhappy patrons, often converting them into brand champions. Do you have a system in place for gathering client feedback? I’ve never seen this question on a feedback form but I believe it to be a valuable one:
“Was there some small-but-important detail of your experience with us that cast our company in a positive or negative light?”
One bonus of implementing this kind of open-door feedback system: it’s free business coaching for you and will likely have your clients feeling smart, important and valued … especially when they see you sincerely thanking them, implementing positive change and following through.
The one client that decides to never return could have been the one that was going to bring countless referrals to your company, or that one big fish that transforms the entire future for you, your company and your staff. If you’re willing to take this seriously, you’ll take a very close look at the details.
Need an “Impeccability Audit” for your company and its processes? Contact Steve Dorfman HERE.