...probably more than you think!
Small things that we continually miss are costing us profit. Lots of profit!
In today's oversupplied market, lots of companies can provide the same product for roughly the same price. So when everything risks looking like everything else, small differences can have a literally massive impact. They can mean leaving lots of potential profit on the table, or keeping us well ahead of the competition...
Three recent (and very personal) examples...
The Tabasco sauce...
So we're at a restaurant, I'm having some pasta and ask if I may have some of the famous pepper sauce. I'm politely told that they are running out, and offer me some sweet chilli ketchup instead. I politely decline.
But...there's a large supermarket two floors below us and the restaurant is not particularly busy. What would it have taken for someone to go and buy some more? It wouldn't have taken very long, I would have been thrilled, and probably told many folks about the experience over the next few days - even weeks! And that would still have been the outcome even if the sauce had arrived after my pasta had gone cold! That small effort would have been enough to have got me talking and spreading the story.
The Toilets....(yes, I said they were personal experiences!)
So me and my five-year-old son are are in a pretty up-scale shopping mall a couple of days ago and I have paid the admission fee to use the toilets.
Quick aside: Most - and I'm guessing 80% - of places (even posh ones) that I've visited, miss the obvious fact that the simple mechanics of basic bodily function for small children are near impossible with machinery only designed for adults.
Ok, so forget the more intricate "manoeuvres" we are now about to wash our hands. Or try to! The sink is too high and my son can't reach the taps! Remember, we're at an up-sale joint, and they're charging us for hygiene. Eventually we manage to accomplish our mission: him with a wet t-shirt and Dad decidedly grumpy.
Parents with young children go to where their kids are happy and are able to be looked after properly. Period. Small children have been visiting shopping malls, hotels and restaurants for a while now and yet amidst all the glitz, soft lighting, designer decor and music, these difficulties (and opportunities) are staring us all in the face.
Last night (yes, as I'm writing this literally last night), I visited the accident and emergency unit of a hospital with a family member. She was suffering from acute vertigo (which basically meant that she felt sea stick standing still or lying down). After a quick examination she was given some medication and told she could go home. Mmm...
I had some questions: What is the condition? What caused it? How long do you take the medication for? What to do if symptoms persist? How do we prevent it happening again? Is she able to be certified not to attend work, and for how long?
Ok, quick shout out to our friends in the medical profession: These ladies and gentlemen do amazing work in sometimes very difficult circumstances and yes, it was 2:00am.
But the above explanations could've taken no more than 2 minutes, it's really part of the job (I wasn't asking anything complicated) and if the information had been volunteered upfront, I would've most likely been singing the praises of the hospital and gladly returning for more.
Margins are Shrinking...
Both profit margins and the margins between winning and losing.
In Formula One racing your position on the starting grid is decided sometimes by a few thousandths of a second in qualifying. In the Wimbledon tennis final last year, it took almost five hours of play to separate Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. And customers are demanding more and more from us...frequently for less and less!
Particularly today, the small things can have big consequences.They can mean the difference between success and failure, between healthy and poor profits.
What do we do?
Start by doing a simple audit of all the potential touch-points a current or prospective customer can have with your business. Then brainstorm what could be done to make the experience even better.
Any one of these small things has the potential to make the difference between winning and losing, but the compound effect of all of them could be truly dramatic and hard for others to duplicate.
The elements I mentioned above from my own experience were not major things. They would not have taken much effort. But they would have make a huge difference to my future patronage and recommendations to others.
Lastly...Club Med Cherating...
We've just come back from our first visit to Club Med'. We had a wonderful time. The children loved it and we were able to relax for a couple of days with family visitors. The staff were unhurried in their organisation, appreciative of our custom and praise, and happy to be of service. None of these were bold or large gestures or cost a great deal of money to implement, and yet they all combined to make it an unforgettable experience.
More about Scaling Up
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