Posted on April 18, 2017
I’d like to think I have my life in proper perspective, and in my personal life, I am always careful to not let little things bother me. Business, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Here, it’s imperative to never lose site of the tiniest details, especially as you get closer and closer to the “touch point” where a client engages with your product or service. I find that successful businesses that cut through the clutter, and stand out from the competition, tend to pay heavy attention to the smaller details.
Let me give you two examples. First, let’s start with retail banking. One of the stranger phenomena in this sector (at least in the Tri-state area) is the concept of the “Chained Pen.” Here are these banking institutions making a “pretty penny,” and yet, when it comes to customers filling out a deposit slip, or endorsing a check, many banks seem to be worried about pens escaping through the door. So what do they do? They chain the pens to a counter, making for a less than optimal consumer experience. Finally, at least one of the banks, TD Bank came to its senses, realizing that a branded pen leaving the bank was actually a good thing and a viable marketing investment, to say nothing of the benefits to the improved customer experience. And it didn’t stop there; next introducing complimentary dog treats for its customers. Token gestures? Perhaps. Marketing intelligence? Absolutely!
Recently, while traveling abroad, I was awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call to my cell phone. This is always a frightening experience, but I quickly saw that it was coming from the concierge division of my credit card company. I answered, only to have them tell me that they were calling to confirm a business dinner reservation that I had made for my return to the states. After confirming the reservation, I told the person on the other line that I was traveling, and that it was the middle of the night. I asked if there was any reason they couldn’t text or email me the confirmation. There was no good answer to be found. While I can’t fault the company for not knowing that I was traveling abroad (even though a quick check of my records might show it) doesn’t an email or text eliminates the possibility of an incident like this?
The lesson here is that good businesses must not only focus on big ideas, but also on executing the fine details. Often the difference between a good and a great product or service offering is in the details. And the impact to the bottom line can be substantial.