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It’s the little things ~ v2

It's the little things ~ v2

It’s the little things you do that can make a big difference. What are you attempting to accomplish? What little thing can you do today that will make you more effective? You are probably only one step away from greatness. ~ Bob Proctor

This week’s version focuses on customer service at two local eateries. One, a national chain, the other a mom & pop shop.As the old adage goes: the devil‚Äôs in the details‚Ķ how much are you paying attention to the details that matter to your customers?

The ‘little things’ that made a difference featuring Timothy’s and House of Cheung:

There is a Timothy’s location in my neighbourhood which is closer than the local Starbucks (my coffee brand of choice) so occasionally, if I’m in a rush or the weather isn’t cooperating, I’ll head over there. I’m by no means one of their loyal customers, but I still am one. Unfortunately the service just seems to get worse and worse each time I stop in. Buying a cup of coffee and a pound of beans should not take 15 mins and require repeating ones self 5 times to each of the two people behind the counter. And yes, I was the only person in line. (That example was only the most egregious one out of many).

The employees at this Timothy’s just don’t care about their jobs and it shows. I’ve never seen a manager or supervisor working the floor; the coffee beans displayed have been expired for a year; the employees don’t appear to know how to work the cash register; and on and on.

That is a training issue and a motivation issue, the product itself is fine. It can be fixed if management is motivated themselves to do so. Until that time my visits to Timothy’s will cease – the walk a few blocks further will do me good. Paying attention to things like how long it takes to complete an order and donating expired product vs. offering it for sale really do make a difference.

This experience is contrasted with House of Cheung a restaurant in Toronto. We found this restaurant when Kevin was looking for solid reviews online for Chinese food delivery (we moved from Chinatown area and the restaurants we used to frequent don’t deliver) and after fruitless searching with all the “review” sites came across a post on a message board [how old skool!] that sealed the deal. We ordered and the food was fantastic. A month went by and we placed an order again. Lo and behold the same gent who delivered the food the last time was the one who answered the phone and remembered Kevin and where we lived exactly. The least painful food order in history.

That kind of attention to detail comes from a deep regard for your customers and the product you are providing. Not all employees will have the same commitment as a restaurant owner, but if they feel empowered, respected and part of a team it will resonate back to the customers they are interacting with.

Needless to say House of Cheung is our Chinese food restaurant of choice from here on out.

{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}

[photo credit: +lyn on Flickr]

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Comments (2) to “It’s the little things ~ v2”

  1. Another great post, but you left out some of my favourite details from the story of House of Cheung. Like how, the first time I called, not having a menu, and asking them to just send us something tasty and vegetarian. Being the indecisive person I am, I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked a clerk for help making a choice and had them stumbling in confusion, having to think about their menu and what might suit my tastes (”omg! the customer is going off-script!”). And how, when I called the second time, as soon as it clicked in the man’s head that I had called before (over a month prior), he not only remembered enough to spare me from repeating my address details, but even that he had called from his cell when he got to the neighbourhood, and I met him downstairs to save him from having to search for our hard-to-find door. And it’s not like we placed such a large order, or gave a ridiculously large tip. It’s so nice to be remembered, just for being a patron! And, yeah, it probably bears repeating: the food is excellent!

  2. Hehe, yeah they are a little slow there at Timothy’s. Still, I think sometimes overfamiliarity means little things get on your nerves. Let me tell you about the things that bug me about my gym… :)

    On a separate note, the Second Cup at Richmond and Spadina is now closed down. I guess we’re now down to “only” Starbucks and Le Gourmand.

    The little things do matter. I wonder how one little thing can balance out a negative, etc. – in a big store like a grocery store. The cashier at Sobey’s on The Queensway chased me to my car because I had left one bag at the cash. That has to cancel out any five minor negatives – how often do we hear consumers today noticing the negatives without thinking about all the “above and beyond” stuff people do to help them, and all the experiences that actually exceeded expectations (like your House of Cheung experience)?

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