Look, the little things matter.
Don’t dismiss them because they’re overhead expenses, because customers don’t mention them, or because they add extra steps to your order and delivery process. They mean the world because they help separate your business from the competition.
Do you realize how few businesses answer the phone in three rings? Or how few use a customer’s name in conversation? How about the number of businesses that bother to thank customers for their business?
These are the things that separate transactions from experiences. These are the things that customers may not value at all when first buying your product or service, but value significantly when making a repurchase. These are the things that customers talk about with their friends and family. These are the little things. And these little things distinguish great businesses from good ones.
When was the last time a company made you feel like you were their only customer? How did you feel the last time a business didn’t return your call? What about when someone misspells your name or street address, even after you have corrected them? Funny how your perspective changes when you put yourself in the shoes of a customer.
All too often, we hear about “exceeding expectations”, “going the extra mile”, or perhaps even “delighting customers”. But what I hear from business owners is, “What does all that mean?” And that’s a great question. Why? Because each of those statements is hard to comprehend. They’re big in scope, a bit abstract, and are defined differently for each business.
But I think you can answer that question with this answer – “It means the little things.” Yes, that is defined differently for each business, but as the owner, you know what it means for your business. Once that happens, the big scope narrows and the abstract becomes clearer.
And if you still don’t know how to answer that question, then ask your customers. Find out from them what the little things are. Find out from them what annoys them and what impresses them. Find out why price really doesn’t matter as much as you think. Find out from your customers what it would take to keep them for life.
In fact, just asking your customers for feedback is doing a little thing. So is using their name, answering the phone quickly, responding to their messages promptly, and writing a thank-you note. Those little things can make a big difference.
Just ask yourself the next time you decide to buy or not to buy.