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It’s the little things ~ v1

The birth of water

As I’ve been not enjoying the hot, humid summer as much as I should as I’ve been slammed with work, pitches and personal life, I’ve been noticing the little things that make an experience a good one vs. one that makes you cringe. Since I’ve had such a hard time getting back into the swing of posting (it isn’t for lack of things to talk about… just too much writing for business and the words just don’t flow as easily as they did a couple of months ago), I thought a good way to get things re-started is a regular feature on the little things that make a difference in the way you experience a brand, company, or product – whatever that may be, good or bad.

As the old adage goes: the devil’s in the details… how much are you paying attention to the details that matter to your customers?

To start things off for this inaugural post I have two interactions to share, one offline and one online. The ‘little things’ that made a difference featuring Chapters Indigo and Lush:

Offline -

  • Walking into a Lush location is like a mini holiday. The sights and scents are overwhelming, but in a way that produces glee. A Lush store is like a candy shop for grown ups. Although wildly successful around the world, your experience is distinctly unique. What sets Lush apart in my mind is how their employees are encouraged to use the products, even at work. The woman who rang me up on Friday did so while wearing a fresh face mask. A bit weird, sure, but it’s a damn good endorsement of the product that is literally in my face. Each time I go into the store I find out something new: a new idea for mixing two bath products together, how two products combine to form the ultimate pedicure mixture, to why they had to change the format of my favourite product because of the way the fresh ingredients adhered to each other. They also give away stuff… a lot. I don’t know the last time I walked out of a store without a sample of a product or an actual product because of their on-going promotions. Sampling has always worked in retail and Lush has it down to a science. I can’t possibly use all of the samples I get because I just bought all the products I need. So I pass them on and my circle of influence gets to experience Lush products… and become customers. I also can’t tell you how many times I bought a product just because one of the sales reps handed it to me and told me to smell it based on the other products they saw me looking at. They have the details down.

Online -

  • First there was Amazon… I used to shop at Amazon.com when I lived in the States. Moving back to Canada was an unwelcome jolt of reality in terms of e-commerce and our bricks and mortars. Back in the day there were none and paying duty for shipments from the U.S. was not fun. Slowly but surely that tide is shifting and now I can even shop Canadian Tire online (next week’s “little things” post :) )! Now Chapters Indigo does everything for me Amazon used to, with the exception of recommendations, although Amazon’s system is far from perfect. I buy a lot of books. Business books, history, politics, and mystery. I’m an iRewards member and the fee pays for itself each year, no worries. I’ve never had a shipping or ordering issue with them before so the details weren’t on my radar. Until this last order where they got one thing very right and one thing very wrong. I ordered about 15 books a couple of weeks ago and they all shipped out fine and dandy. Except for one. It didn’t ship at all; just sat there all by itself in my order history saying “awaiting shipment” for a couple of weeks even though their system indicated all books would arrive by a date that was now long past. It was in stock when I bought it so what was the issue, and why did I receive not one update from Chapters as to the status? Finally I decided to contact them about it. This is where the customer service details kicked into high gear and what I received back was excellent. They explained the problem and after a brief correspondence with an actual person they placed a replacement order for me and shipped it out without additional charge. They didn’t make me cancel and then order a different copy of the book, they just handled it. Quickly (well, once I contacted them), painlessly, and with a virtual smile.

To me, details mean everything. If you know me in real life you’ll know that I never get lost in the weeds, but I know how many there are in the garden. I can be a real pain about it sometimes because I feel they are so fundamentally important and form the foundation of any business or interaction. To get them nailed you have to put yourself directly in the others shoes and care about the experience. It’s just that significant of a cornerstone in my books.

In our age of instant feedback loops, short attention spans, and CHOICES, sometimes the little details can make an experience extraordinary; or as Godin says – what’s your purple cow? Sometimes it can be as simple as making a routine interaction painless for the end user.

Do you have any exceptional experiences with details to share? I’d love to end up compiling the posts into a list of companies that ‘get it’ after a few months, so please share if you’ve got tales to tell!

[Photo credit: Pisco Bandito on Flickr]

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Comments (4) to “It’s the little things ~ v1”

  1. Wow. It’s not exceptional, but it’s an example how execution can undermine your best plans – how about my “How Ralph Lauren kicks you in the ass” post?

    http://canuckflack.com/2007/08/12/how-ralph-lauren-kicks-you-in-the-ass/

  2. Hey Colin, I think your example counts! It’s interesting the contrast between a Lush employee who is encouraged to ‘think outside the box’ so to speak vs. the customer ’service’ RL employs which is akin to saying: “whatever you do, don’t deviate from the manual”.

  3. Like you I’ve been a busy worker but a negligent blogger. But I did have some similar customer service experiences recently (one good, one bad). Its just such a rich topic for discussion.

    If you’re so inclined:http://marcomedy.wordpress.com/2007/06/14/the-keg-vs-volkswagon-two-tales-of-customer-service/

  4. [...] {ps – check out the comments from the inaugural post, both Colin and Jonathan have two great posts that fit right into the “little things” meme} [...]

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