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Why Attention to Detail Matters

There are many qualities that separate great companies from the ordinary, and one is attention to detail. This is important in everything from the actual product or service to the delivery of that product or service (i.e. customer service).

But there’s a second component to attention to detail and that’s consistency. If you wow your customers with your acute attention to detail on their first interaction with you and don’t deliver that same level of service the next time, it can leave a bad taste in taste in their mouth.

For instance, I was recently at a coffee shop watching the interaction of the customer in front of me. They ordered a decaf soy latte with light ice, but when the employee at the register reiterated the drink order to the barista, they left off the “light ice” part. The customer politely repeated the order.

The barista then proceeded to pour regular milk in the cup, luckily the customer noticed and said something. Instead of getting a new cup, they poured out the milk and replaced it with soy. Which logic would say is perfectly acceptable to do, but what if that customer had a high lactose intolerance?

Clearly losing faith in getting the right order, the customer said, “That’s decaf right?” Again the barista poured out the contents without a word and started over. Hopefully there wasn’t too much residual caffeine left in the cup. Finally the barista delivered the drink, and while I’m not sure what the standard is for “light ice,” it didn’t appear to be very light. Opting to settle for what was given to them the customer left with a slightly disappointed look on her face.

Though this may not be enough to detour her from revisiting the chain establishment, she may not likely return to that particular location. If it happens enough though, chances are she will find another coffee shop to frequent.

While this may be a seemingly unimportant event, it mattered to that one customer. Had the barista offered a simple apology, or got a fresh cup, or took a second to reread what was written on the cup to make sure they made the rest of it to the customer’s specifications, the customer would have likely left with a smile instead of disappointment.

As you interact with customers, or develop your next product or service, think about how you can take it one level deeper. What’s the one small touch you can add to stand out in your customer’s mind? Once you’ve nailed attention to detail focus on delivering at that same level every time.

Question: Which companies do you think do attention to detail really well?

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