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The Little Things

The little things that add up to quality

We have all heard stories about bad business practices and we wonder how a business can last with such poor policies in place.  Although we all are quick to recognize blatantly bad practices, we sometimes become blind to the little things.  And often it’s those little things that can make such a difference.

I was once a guest on the Jerry Leen radio show, where we had to listen to callers complain about contractors not returning phone calls.  I suppose if that’s the worst thing a contractor ever does maybe that’s not so bad.  But I ask you, should we be running our businesses on not so bad, or should we be striving for excellence in all aspects of our business?  Assuming that we want to establish an organization that we can really be proud of, let’s look at the little things that can make a real difference.

We’ll start with returning phone calls.  I’m sure we can all think of tons of reasons not to return a phone call.  We may be too busy, or the job doesn’t seem like the kind of job that we want, or we don’t like the way the prospective client sounds, or, or, or.  I am not saying that you must return every phone call, but I am saying that to ignore the basics of communication will lead to poorer communication.  It would be far better to return the call or have someone in your office call and, if necessary, tell the prospect that you don’t do the kind of work they want, or that you are not available or whatever you need to tell them.  This communication would at least end the mystery for the prospect waiting for the return call and it would also send a message that you are considerate enough to give them an answer.

I’m often told by contractors that they get a lot of business through word of mouth.  Remember the importance of word of mouth the next time you decide it’s not worth it to return the call or follow up on something you promised to do.  And then ask yourself how you feel when someone doesn’t return your phone call.

To find the other little things that can make a big difference, just ask yourself what has irritated you about businesses or people you deal with.  Chances are you will find a bunch of little annoyances that you can fix in your own business.

In looking for those other little things that add up to quality, remember to look at all the areas of your business.  Perhaps there is something that you can do before, during or after the sale that will make you stand out.  Maybe you will be the only one who took the few minutes to show some special attention to something that was important to the prospect.  When it comes to doing the project, you certainly can find lots of little ways to make a difference.

In examining the little things, remember to include everything that you would consider important to you.  Take those things and make them part of your business policy; make them part of who you are.  Make it a practice to always be on the look-out for other little things that will make you stand out