Tom Peter’s book The Little Big Things has been inspiring me to write posts on various customer satisfaction topics. Today’s topic is the attention to detail.

Why is Attention to Detail important?

Here’s the story from ‘The Little Big Things’ Chapter 132.

Tom received a questionnaire from Stamford Graduate School of Business for MBA programs. Stamford: the prestigious university whose graduates include the founders of Google..Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Tom filled out the questionnaire and when he was about to mail it he found out that the questionnaire didn’t fit in the envelope provided. He tore up the questionnaire. His comment: “Ever wonder what’s wrong with MBA programs? Lack of Attention to Envelopes!

In every organization, grand ideas are hatched, assigned and implemented. But they can be ruined in the customer’s eyes by a simple lack of attention to details.

Customers will not always tell you about their bad experiences like Tom did in his book. In Tom’s case, he vented his frustration by destroying the work he had put into responding to Stamford ‘s request for feedback and tore up the questionnaire. Did Stamford ever find out why they didn’t get his questionnaire back in the mail? How many other questionnaires did Stamford fail to get back for the same reason? Would Stamford ever know why?

What is attention to detail?

One of the most common problems launching a new product, implementing a new program or making a major announcement is the many details that have to be thought of and worked out. Planning is sometimes pushed aside for the need to act quickly. Little details emerge late in the time line for the announcement project and sometimes they don’t emerge until after the product or service is launched.

Have you  ever been to a store that advertised something you wanted to buy, only to find out that there was no stock of the item in the store? The advertising got ahead of the delivery organization.

How to ensure attention to detail

1. Instill the need for quality and detailed work  in workers when launching any new project.

2. Invest in project management training and, if necessary, project management tools

3. Flow chart (mind map) all the details and review them with others.

4. If time permits, run a pilot with a small group or geography. Solicit feedback.

5. When rolling out or launching a new project or process, pay special attention to customer feedback. Get regular comments from front line employees or business partners

6. Over staff support and service organizations. Monitor the web and social media. Respond  quickly to any  problems.

What to do first?

There is an old management saying: The devil is in the details.

1. Planning is a key for any project.

2. Start at high level plans.

3. Assign more detailed plans to various groups or individuals.

4. Ensure cross functional communications.

5. Walk through ‘what the customer will see’.

6. Bring teams from various part of the process together. Walk through ‘what the customer sees’ together.

7. A good plan needs to be followed by rigorous execution. Execute the plan. Create milestones. Monitor the achievement of milestones.

8. Ensure Project Management best practices are functioning by requesting regular reporting.

9. Communicate, up, down and cross functionally on objectives and progress.

10. Walk through ‘what the customer sees’ multiple times including cross functional teams as the project moves forward.

11. Closely  Monitor the roll out of the project or product.

How does your organization watch out for execution details?

It’s an important customer satisfaction best practice technique. Write what your organization does below or write what you learned from this post.

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

2 Responses to “Customer Satisfaction Technique – Attention to detail”

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