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The little things speak loudly

You can spend thousands on a re-brand. Get a fancy studio to create a great logo and web designers to make an all singing and dancing website. But all of that will go to waste when you don’t focus on the little things.

This week, I have seen, heard, experienced and done some of those little things that people have forgotten about. As a result, as they drop the ball in these areas, they lower the value of their organisation to the customer or stakeholders.

Customer service – what you start your sentence with

This last week my son wanted to buy a new car and asked me to come with him, due to my many cars purchased over the years! He had spent time narrowing down the options and had chosen the car type and spec he wanted. He found one advertised not too far away and as it was ‘appointment only’ he messaged on their system to book an appointment. As he had not received a reply, he then phoned to book a time to visit to test drive. He politely explained that he would like to come for a test drive and got the reply, “we are fully booked.” There was a stunned silence from both of us. Not because they were booked, as that may be a sign of a popular garage. It was the abruptness and the lack of customer focus. You see, the little things are important. If you are fully booked, it is important to still value the person at the end of the phone and not lose a customer or damage reputation. So, you start the sentence with, “I would really like to help you. We have had unprecedented demand for test drives for today. Is there another date that would suit you that we could help you?” When you start with, 'I would really like to help you', that is the first thing that the customer hears. Your value for the customer speaks more than your sales and that is what you become known for. If you are like that on the phone calls then you are likely to be like that with the product that you sell. Interestingly, following a well worded response from my son, they were able to ‘find a slot at 4pm’. But of course, the damage had been done.

Customer service – Going the extra mile

So, what was my son to do with four hours to wait for this appointment to view a car? My son chose to visit one of the other garages with a similar car before that appointment. A quick phone call and they answered straight away. They arranged a time 45 minutes later to view and test drive. The sales person Oliver couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful. Needless to say, the quality of the customer service was matched by the car. After a brief negotiation on the price and what would be in place before receiving the car, my son had purchased his next car. The sales person then went hte 'extra mile'. An a hour after getting home, my son received an email with a video attachment of Oliver thanking my son for his purchase and a video of the car he had bought and confirming the collection time and the agreement about full MOT and maintenance that would be done prior to collection. Oliver didn’t need to send the video. It was a nice touch that went the extra mile. Well done Oliver of Glyn Hopkin in Colchester. What a contrast to ‘we are fully booked’ at the other garage.

When we go the extra mile, it speaks volumes to our customers or stakeholders. And, just like this blog, they tell their friends and family about the ‘extra mile’ that you went for them. The little things speak loudly.

Quality Control

A big shout out to Ben Land of Ben Land Media, who took the time to message me yesterday to give me feedback on a social media post where there was a small error in it. I had produced some graphics, that I hadn’t spotted had some white writing that had stayed on part of the graphic. It turned out, due to copy and pasting, that it had appeared on the last 3 posts but I hadn’t spotted it. Maybe others hadn’t spotted it, but fortunately Ben did and gave me feedback. The issue is though, that I should have spotted it in my quality control. But, I hadn’t as I was busy. It is however these little things that can make the difference as the quality that we put out speaks volumes for what we do. Creating simple processes to check quality before things go out ensure that the little things don’t speak louder than the big things we are trying to do. It's my 'little thing' to focus on.

Behaviour speaks louder than your signage

As a teacher, I remember with a chuckle what happened to a pupil who chose to misbehave on a trip out. There was a cricket match with a local school and the team were taken by minibus to the match. On the way back, one of the pupils fuelled by the euphoria of their victory, decided to pull a ‘moonie’ at the back window of the minibus. Now this was many years ago, but unfortunately for this pupil the car following was technically advanced and had an early mobile phone. One quick phone call to the school, reading the school phone number off the back of the minibus resulted in the headteacher standing at the school front door with his arms folded and a very cross face awaiting to greet the cricket team and their onboard miscreant. Needless to say, the boy quickly realised the error of his ways as he was summoned to the office, as the behaviour spoke louder than the signage. I’m pleased to say I was not a member of staff on that trip.

I saw an example of how behaviour speaks louder than your signage again this weekend. A local gardening company had been commissioned to do a front garden for a neighbour. However good their job and their signage or the newly constructed front garden, it was completely overshadowed by the fact that they spent two days with their van parked over another neighbour’s drive, restricting a safe exit. Although their website quotes their ‘friendly services’, their behaviour with their parking was somewhat less friendly or helpful.

From personal experience and from working with clients as a coach, I am aware of the importance of how staff interact with customers and the public speaks loudly for what you stand for over the quality of the signage or the work you do. Abrupt telephone answering or response at the reception is quickly talked about to friends and family and they don’t just attach the label to the individual but to the company. “The reception staff at XXX are so rude. I wouldn’t go there.” However friendly the other staff are, the behaviour of one sets your reputation.

Spending time talking to staff and reflecting yourself on the values and behaviour that you stand for is more important than the time spent on a re-brand. The consistent message of the quality you stand for in the behaviour you exhibit is important.

The ‘little things’ conclusion

So, what is the message of this week? Spend time and focus on the little things. It is the quality that you will be known for. The little things speak loudly.

Can we help you?

We hope this blog has been helpful and if you would like some more targeted support to explore ensuring you have the little things in hand, then Everyday Leader is here to help you. Our clients find their coaching empowering, as we help them gain a full perspective and find a way forward. Give us a call on 01449 710438 or email if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you.


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