I am currently reading Tom Peter’s book, The Little Big Things and his very first story is a customer satisfaction story that struck a chord with me But first, some housekeeping:
The Author: Tom Peters
Tom Peters is the co-author of the classic book “In Search of Excellence” and authored other well known texts such as ” A Passion for Excellence”,” Thriving on Chaos”, “The Pursuit of Wow”, and many other books. He is also a popular world class speaker.
The Book: The Little BIG Things – 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence.
As the subtitle implies, this book provides many chapters covering interesting ways an organization can pursue excellence through it’s top management actions. The target audience is top management and middle management in a fairly large organizations. . Tom has taken hundreds of blog posts and assembled them together in this substantial book of good advice and relevant stories.
The Customer Satisfaction story
In the first chapter in the book, Tom talks about a 170 mile trip he takes from his country home in Vermont to the airport in Boston to fly to his next ‘engagement’. He routinely stops at one particular Drive in restaurant about half way. Why does he stop regularly at this one place? Mostly because the restroom is ‘clean to sparkling’. One would think that other factors would draw him to this place over others: the food, the service, the friendly staff. But no, it was the restroom. To him the sparkling clean restroom yells out to him ‘WE CARE’.
How often do we study our customer’s satisfaction through our own perception of what customers would value. How many would have picked the spotless, clean, washroom, as a key driver in retaining a customer? Probably not too many of us. How many people would have included clean washroom as a question item on a customer satisfaction survey for this drive in restaurant?
Yet, what Tom Peters is telling us, is that these small things matter to someone who has just driven 87 miles and is stopping to refresh? It makes you think.
Do we know what our customers value?