Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's the Details Stupid - Part 2

customer review homewood suites
photo credit: jronaldlee via photopin cc

In my previous post, I described my stay at the StaybridgeSuites in Lincolnshire, Illinois as case study of neglecting attention to detail in customer service. In this article, I contrast an experience in the same town at a different hotel as an example of how to win over a customer for life.  The little gestures are the difference between average relationships and outstanding ones, whether in business or in life.


Falling in Love with Small at The Homewood Suites

When I returned to the Homewood after an exhausting day of work, I decided to clean the dishes from the night before, but the sink was empty. The cleaning staff loaded them in the dishwasher for me and even cleaned them! This brought an unexpected smile to my face and sigh of relief. 

Then I decided to wash up before heading down to dinner when something else caught my attention. Not only did they replace the standard, obligatory items of shampoo and lotion on the vanity, they carefully rearranged my own items. Even my Shower-to-Shower, which had spilled out on the counter, was neatly tucked away.

Okay, you might roll your eyes at this one but even the toilet paper received special attention. The cleaning staff folded the ends of the paper into the shape of a diamond. This one made me laugh out loud as I said to myself, “Who does that!”

This next little detail sealed the deal. As I prepared to shower, I noticed the amount of towels in the bathroom. There must have been at least a dozen throughout the suite. I don’t know about you, but I never use so many towels in a single day when at home. As a father of five, it’s a constant battle to get my kids to use less towels. This fatherly instinct kicked in as I thought to myself, this seems a bit wasteful. Then as if reading my mind, I saw this sign hanging from the rear of the towel rack:

Great advice! This made me feel right at home and added to the pattern of attention to detail.


What Small Really Says

You may consider these tiny gestures as too insignificant to warrant mentioning, but attention to detail sends a special message. It signifies someone taking a little extra time to think about you. Someone thought, What could I do to show this person that I care? That I truly considered their needs and feelings?

Everyone sends flowers on Valentine’s Day, but how would your spouse react if you sent a special gift on a non-special occasion?

During my travels, I make it a habit of texting my wife throughout the day. Sometimes flirtatious, while other times I just want to say hi. This sends the message that after twenty years and five kids, she is still my girl. Then, when I return home, I do something really sexy – the laundry. Cupid cannot compete with this, for the reaction is better than 1000 Valentines.


Small is About Creating, Not Competing

Neglecting the small sends the opposite message and eventually leads to overlooking even the big stuff.  Most businesses are too busy competing on the big stuff and miss the opportunity to focus on the small. Your goal should be to create something compelling, not just provide another bed or a different colored widget. People will not always remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel. 

The clean dishes, the diamond shaped toilet paper and the carefully arranged toiletries sent a clear message: We get you. We care about you. Please come again.

So, what message are you sending to your customers...and your loved ones?

Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The PlayersLounge.

And to the staff at the Homewood Suites in Lincolnshire, Illinois, thank you for making me feel special.

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