— blending the mix

The smallest things…

…make the biggest difference.

So, my 3 year old Dell latitude D510 is on its knees. It is old, battered and slow, so bring on the Macbook Pro…(fingers crossed)

Well anyway, I had cause to replace the keyboard yesterday and it suddenly occurred to me that this insignificant object has significantly enhanced my user-experience and level of satisfaction of this knackered old machine.

OK, so keyboards aren’t remarkable, but in just changing this one small element of the machine I am enjoying using the whole machine much more.

So what can I take from this? That the smallest things make big differences – very much along the lines of Hugh’s Global Microbrand and Seth’s Purple Cow thinking.

Small companies can make a big difference when they make things personal, making what they do much more engaging than any of the big boys. So how can you apply this little principle to your business?

My opinion? Engagement.

Consider what and where customers engage with you most. What are their frustrations? What do they enjoy? Do you have a system for letting customers tell you what they think?

Do you have live chat on your website for example? Why not include two live chat buttons, one male, one female? Or why not include a whole page of customer service chat icons to allow different ethnicities and ages to connect to you in a much more compelling way?

You have a call centre so why not use this to try and engage on a much more personal level with the many different types of customers you have? Even if you do not have a whole range of ethnic groups in your workplace, it is live chat so what you haven’t got can be hidden.

Alternatively, why not create regional customer service lines or email addresses? Locals feel that their delivery/service issues are being handled by someone who is at least in the same region as them, is close to them and can understand their frustrations (say, how the recent flooding has affected the customer service agent as well as the customer calling to wonder why their delivery is late due to flooding). You’d better make sure though that you can live up to this level of engagement :-)

Ok, so this is just one small aspect and you may not even have live chat, but think about customer engagement, think how you can meet your customers on their terms and you are already doing one thing better than people 100 times your size.

  1. Julia Roy says: January 22, 20088:54 am

    I want to be able to chat with customer service reps on AIM or iChat rather than calling them on a 1800#. That would be awesome.

  2. paul.fabretti says: January 22, 20088:59 am

    Totally! You don’t want to pick up the phone in case you get a hard sell, you can’t wait for an email response (or get haced-off with an auto-responder) and you want an instant answer.

    IM – problem solved.

    How’s the new apartment BTW?!

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