Ever heard someone say, “it’s all in the little details?” In thinking about this in a literal way – “the little details” – I’m going to start using a new phrase as of today: It’s The Critical Details.
First of all because everything is a detail. Size of task or step or process is inapplicable of import since everything truly makes the whole. “Small” is a world I don’t like to use in business. If you do use it, chase it with a descriptor to further expound. For example: business isn’t small or big. It’s business. Beer isn’t small or big, it’s beer. And where’s the middle? They get left out entirely. So I’d encourage you to rethink and reframe and record.
My business isn’t small simply because it’s me and a handful for contractors. It’s my whole life. And there’s nothing small about that.
Today’s post is inspired by a breakfast dining experience just today. It was an ideal opportunity for a business to earn my business. I was hungry, eager to this this place, and had a sizable gift card to use. Read: ready to spend money which can lead to a generous tip.
I found myself sitting at the table, party of one, just about ready to exit and it hit me: All Details Are Critical.
First off here are the details they were successful at:
- Food choices, quality and flavor were high. Great.
- Dollar value was high. Great.
- Setting was comfy and welcoming. Good.
- Food arrived promptly and at expected temps. Good.
Here are the critical details they missed:
1. No greet, only “Only one of you today?” followed a few minutes later with “I’ll be right with you.” The latter is usually not believable anyway and the former makes you feel lacking, like “are you lonely or what?”. Most critically, there was no smile or hello. Confidence drops.
2. The one staffer working audibly stated “Where is everyone?” in frustration of having to run the floor herself. Adding some sort of inappropriate comment for public ears that she was unhappy with people not showing up. While that may be a valid point for staff, it’s never somethignto say within ear shot of customers. Confidence drops.
3. I was immediately passed over, though in line first, for a party of 3, with the harried worker shoving the seating of all of us to another staff member who literally walked in the door. The party of three was lead to a table, I was told to sit where I liked. Not a great feeling that my business was important. I’ve never heard a host say “Only 5?” – get rid of the only. Confidence drops.
4. No check back until way too late in the meal, the juice was forgotten until I inquired about it, and there was for sure no “What else can I get for you?” or “thank you” given as the check presenter was simply dropped off at my table; across the table in an awkward place to reach in light of dishes and other tables stuffs. Handing it to me would have been better. And no the argument can’t be made that it’d interrupt me. I plainly watched the server leave the presenter and it’d been a way to partially save the experience.
Confidence: gone. Business: gone.
Suffice it to say, I won’t go back. Pity really since it’s appealing and the food is really solid, fresh and delicious. They missed way too many critical items to make up for the poor service and that’s a killer in the customer service business.
Great service can rescue poor food and a questionable atmosphere. Poor service can never resurrect good food or nice atmosphere.
I’ll chow elsewhere in the future. After all, it’s all in the critical details.