It’s All in the Details (Part 2 of 2)

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 your front 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.



  1. Great Points, Steve. I can see that you’re coaching us to see our actions from the client’s perspective and become more conscious of the impact little things can have on their beliefs about us. Thanks.

  2. Eric Abramson says


    This was timely and on point as always! I love the idea about asking for a “small-but-important detail”, it will most certainly provide me a wealth of information when I incorporate it into our survey we are launching Nov. 1.

    Thanks for another newsletter seemingly aimed at solely me and my business. You really have the gift.

    I know i’ve said this countless time before, but You Rock!

    Excuse me while I go spread the word about you.

    Thanks as always,


  3. Philip Justus says

    The coffee in the waiting room; the magazines in the waiting room; the security of your coat that you must leave behind in the temporary care of your host; the neatness/cleanliness of host’s desk, office; cleanliness of restroom & its design to be non-touch, including not needing to touch the doorknob upon exiting; the acknowledgment/courtesy of receptionist when coming in and leaving; reminding you of the names and position of the people you will visit, perhaps handing you business cards, or simple agenda for the visit (such as: list in order, the activity or process with corresponding names of individuals who will greet you); followup with a phone call/email/birthday card/…these details always leave a good impression and a sweet taste about the way “they” do business. Thanks, I just sat in the chair my visitors are ushered to, and I cleaned and neatened my stuff. Phil

  4. Thanks, Jim.

    Phil: These are ALL excellent tips. Thank you for sharing/contributing. (what do you “make true” about an office with 2-year-old magazines in the reception area?)

  5. So glad to be of service, Eric 😉

  6. HALLELUJAH! Good stuff. I’m def. a sucker for companies/people that go the extra mile and when I notice they put the effort in, I’m much more receptive and loyal.


  7. Hi, Steve.

    I have to tell you that I LOVE reading your blog. I know that, as a friend, you expect to hear that from me, right? But the issues that you bring up don’t only speak to those in the business world, but to anyone, workwise or other.

    Thanks for the extra dose of common sense!

  8. Thanks a bunch, Lisa and Masoud. I love having your input here and appreciate you for sharing!


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