Sweating the small stuff

It’s not something we’re supposed to do, so the saying goes, however I recently spent a day with the Association of Qualitative Research practitioners (AQR) doing exactly that.

You see, we’re all guided by all of our senses when we do anything, and during the course of our day, it became clear that many of us are guilty of overlooking ‘the small things’ that can make a huge difference.

Let’s take an example we’ve all experienced, eating out.  How much difference does it make if there’s a smile and warm greeting when you arrive? If they staff look clean and presentable?  If the table and cutlery are clean? If the server is knowledgeable and can make recommendations? If they strike the right balance between attentive and discreet?  If the service is timely?  If your drinks are the correct temperature and served in the right glassware?  If the food and plate are the correct temperature?  If the toilets are clean?  The list goes on and on.

The devil really is in the small details that can have a huge impact on your overall experience.  Get one detail wrong and you’re probably okay, but if a few stack up then it’s likely to have real influence on your recommendation and return.

If we think about visitor experiences more broadly, there are even more ‘small things’ that can influence visitors perceptions; their travel to/from, parking, signage, the entrance, ‘welcome’ staff e.g. ticket booth operators, ticket collectors, etc. security staff, toilets, seating, food, merchandise, and so on.

When we’re really close to something, sometimes it can be hard to be objective, to step back and see the experience as it’s viewed by visitors.  Criticism can be a difficult pill to swallow, but ultimately sweating the small stuff can improve the ‘remembered’ visitor experience and increase retention and advocacy and who doesn’t want that?

Ultimately, great brands and great experiences are delivered by those who really do sweat the small stuff.

Posted by Lisa

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