Do Sweat the Small Stuff
There is a classic book still on the shelves called “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. In quality it is different. Do sweat the small stuff! It is the little things that matter in quality. Think of any quality product, it is the little things that give you that warm fuzzy feeling of quality.
Mercedes for instance. When you buy a Mercedes it is the small things that you notice. The first aid kit in the arm rest at the back, the red triangle in the boot (That you never have to use because Mercedes never break down……) Any quality product is like that it is the little things that count. The cost of the little things in the Mercedes probably only accounts for about 1% of the selling price but they make a big difference in the perception of Quality as far as the customers are concerned.
I get to stay in hotels quite a lot in my business but I don’t often use hotel laundries, I usually carry enough clothes with me. On one occasion a couple of years ago I had to get a some cloths laundered because I was staying longer than I anticipated and a shirt that went to the laundry didn’t have a button on the cuff when it went. I knew that the button was missing but it didn’t worry me because I wear cufflinks.
When the shirt came back from the laundry however, someone had taken the time and trouble to match a button and sew it onto the shirt. They didn’t mention it, they didn’t even charge me for it, they just did it! Now that’s quality!
It’s the little things that matter. What little things can you do for your customers today?
If you fly around the country you will notice that there are two different levels of quality on the aircraft, business class and economy at the back. The price between the two classes is very different but if you think about it you are both getting exactly the same trip. The business class leave at the same time as the economy class, They arrive at exactly the same time – well business class arrive earlier but the difference is marginal.
The only difference between the different quality levels is little things. The business class traveller will get slightly better food, a little wider and more comfortable seat, but that is it. Quality is in the little things.
In my business we get printing done by a local printer. We have been using the same printer for many years and I asked my secretary to compare prices with other printers in the area. She told me that she did that regularly and the printer we use is still the best quality at a reasonable price.
I am not usually in the office when printing is delivered because I spend most days in front of audiences rather than in an office, but on one occasion I was there when the printing arrived. On top of the pile of printing was a thank you note and a large slab of chocolate. I discovered that the printer always sends chocolate with the printing and I realized why we have been using the same printer for so many years. The chocolate is just a little thing but it made a big difference to the decision to buy from the same company for so long.
Think about the little things that you can do on a regular basis for your customers. Don’t charge them for it, Don’t even tell them, they will notice I assure you, Just do it. You will be amazed what effect that will have on your customer’s perception of your quality product or service.