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The Basics Part 3: Big Thinking About Little Details

Details matter.

In fact, they are really the only things that matters.

When you boil down the Guest experience it is the total of hundreds of touch points that defines their time in your business.  That means that every little thing that touches your Guests can be impactful and tells a story about what is most important to your brand.

There is something comforting to Guests when they come to your business and see everything neat, orderly, and well conceived.  You see, the only real way for them to judge the entirety of your operation is by what they see through their lens.  That is to say, if you have a neat office or clean restaurant or well organized hardware store, they assume you have your act together.

Think about it. . . when was the last time you ate at a restaurant that had a dirty dining room and thought “well its probably much cleaner in the back.”

Or if the person doing your taxes has a cluttered work space and can’t seem to find anything, did you think “I feel super confident about this guy’s accuracy.  I’m in for a big refund this year!”

No, probably not.

Even though that restaurant might have a spotless kitchen and the fellow doing your taxes might have a 100% accuracy rate.

Guests are judgmental and are constantly making assumptions about those they do business with.  Fair or not, those dirty baseboards, burnt out light bulbs, and disorganized check out lines are making an impression on your Guests.

Which means, you have to be a bit of a detective each day when you walk your dirt.  You have to look beyond what is on the surface, dig past the obvious, and look at things from your Guests’ point of view.

Look at things from the Guest Point of View

When you consider how your Guests will see something that can have a dramatic effect on your priorities.  This is an easy suggestion that takes real effort to execute upon.  When you think about continuing your efforts to dig beyond the obvious, this is a key step.  It may require you to walk out from your normal work area, stand back, and take a breath.  You may have to flip a mental switch and really concentrate to make this productive.  Think about your experiences as Guests in other businesses and consider everything from the angle of “is this good for the Guest?”  Does it make things easier, friendlier, faster, or better?  If not, then look for ways to improve it.  That is the ultimate point of this exercise – to look for ways to tweak things for Guests and make their lives better.

Ask Questions

It is easy to walk through your business each day and not stop and ask the folks on the front line what needs to change or what could be better.  As leaders, we have to guard against believing that we have all the answers.  Remember, the more removed you are from directly serving Guests, the less you know about what they want.  That is where working with your team and asking them what Guests are saying, as well as what they think, will help you win.  Those on the front lines hear Guest ideas, field complaints, and have ideas that can make the daily work easier.  The only catch here is that you have to ask them what they think then take action on their ideas.

Walk Your Dirt

The last way to really impact the details and the Guest experience is to remain focused on what is happening in your business.  You can’t inspire loyalty or delight from your office – you have to be out on the front line to drive success.  No matter what your place in your organization, if you lose connectivity to your Guests, it is game over.  That doesn’t mean you have to get mired down in the weeds each day, but you should step into a front line role regularly and you should walk your locations each day.  Staying connected to your Guests, and those who serve them, allows you to see what is happening and to coach your team to keep an eye on the tiniest details that can make Guests happy.  It also means taking the time to stand still long enough to watch your business in action and observe the Guest experience.

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”                                           -Sherlock Holmes,  The Hound of the Baskervilles

These 3 ideas are not so much separate concepts as a strategy that is interconnected.  They all feed upon one another and together can help you keep a focus on the small items that make a big difference.  Remember, the sum of these small details are what your Guests will remember as their overall experience.

So keep an eye on the little things and always put people first.


Tony Johnson -Guest Experience Leader-

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