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It's The Little Things

By Roger Wolkoff

The dinner meeting is off to a good start. You reserved the executive meeting room in your restaurant on your property. You know the one: dark wood-grained conference table, plush high-back chairs, and sleek, modern art adorn the walls. You check in to make sure everything is going well.

Amy, one of your top waitstaff, walks around the table and pours wine for everyone. And that's when it happens. She accidentally knocks over a full glass into the CEO's lap. Red wine is on his shirt, pants, and Italian leather jacket. You and Amy rush over to help clean up the spill and apologize to Mike, the CEO. You assure him you'll take care of this. You send his coat to a professional cleaner. Upon its return, and much to your relief, the jacket comes back good as new.

End of story, right? Many people would have stopped at cleaning the jacket. Not Kathleen, the event manager to whom this happened. Mike and his team booked another dinner meeting at Kathleen's property for the next month. Waiting for them on each of their chairs was a rain poncho with their company logo engraved on it. Kathleen went the extra mile and turned a potential negative into a positive, memorable experience for her clients, something at which everyone could at the very least smile about. It's the little things.

Kathleen approaches her clients and situations like a puzzle. If you have ever put a puzzle together, you know that putting the pieces together takes trial and error. The same applies when you look for the little things that will delight your customers. Be curious about the opportunities you have to create exceptional experiences for your clients and guests. Think in terms of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, think in terms of positive outcomes.

Notice the little things, act on them, and turn them into memorable experiences - it takes wit, creativity, and the ability to make connections. Make the most of your ability to read a situation, go with your gut or idea, and take care of your guests. It's almost like you have a sixth sense about what your guests need.

The smallest details make a difference. They require that you pay attention. Like when Mary asks for non-dairy creamer the morning of her first day of a five-day stay at your property. You have non-dairy creamer waiting for her the next morning and each day after that. When Antoine comes down to the pool at 4:00 and orders a vodka tonic with a lemon twist on his first day of the conference, you have one ready for him the rest of the days he stays at your resort.

It's the little things. It's like knowing whether your guest likes two or three olives in her martini. Speaking of olives, they make a great way to remember the little things for your customers. Here's how you can pay attention to the little things:

  • Observe - Look for the little things. Does your guest favor a particular cuisine? Can you learn what their favorite drink or meal is? What amenities are most important to them? Can you pick up on their style?
  • Listen - Listen for the little things. We all love to tell our stories and share how we're feeling. What cues can you pick up from what your guests or customers tell you? Do they share a story when they check in or when you greet them at your table?
  • Internalize - Put yourself in the customer's place. If you were them, what actions or gestures would you find meaningful? What emotion or feeling would you like them to have?
  • Vet - Check to make sure that what you have in mind for your client is in line with what they expect. If you're not sure, ask a colleague.
  • Experience - Remember, doing the little things is about creating memorable experiences!

We have many chances to meet our clients where they are. When you go out of your way and pay attention to the pieces of the puzzle, no one else pays attention to, that's doing something special, something memorable. And they'll remember you for it. It's the little things.

© 2019, Roger Wolkoff
Does your organization, association, or team need help working through change? Are you looking for positive experiences for your employees and customers? If you answered "yes" then you need to work with Roger Wolkoff. He will help you discover how emotional intelligence paired with authenticity improves communication, ups productivity, and positively influences culture. Visit LinkedIn to connect with Roger and work with him to help you deliver results and grow your bottom line.
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