It's a Little Thing, but it Makes a Big Difference

It’s a Little Thing, but it Makes a Big Difference

Every week I stay at different hotels around the world as I travel for my speaking engagements. And, every morning I get up in these hotels and take a shower. I reach in to turn the knob for the water, which is usually a few feet below the showerhead. I turn the knob to what I hope is the correct water temperature and pull my arm out just as fast as I can – to avoid the cold water that is about to shoot out of the nozzle and hit my arm or other parts of my body.

Okay, that doesn’t seem like a big deal – and it’s not. That is, until you experience something better.

On one of those mornings, many years ago, I noticed that the housekeeper had turned the shower head toward the wall so that the guest – that’s me – wouldn’t have to experience the cold water that first came spraying out of the shower. Such a small thing, but a thoughtful and much-appreciated gesture.

Small, but what a brilliant customer focused idea. And, it may seem like a little thing, but it makes a difference. Since that time, every time I turn on the shower I look to see if the shower head is aimed at my arm below or at the wall. If it’s aimed straight down, I’ll turn it away.

Now, how many times do you think I’ve had to turn it away? You probably guessed, almost every time.
This simple act of turning the shower head toward the wall so the guest won’t get sprayed with cold water would take the housekeeping staff two seconds. That’s it!

There are some hotels that have figured this out. One morning I reached in to turn on the shower and didn’t see the knob. Where could it be? On the opposite wall! The wall that didn’t have a shower head looming above it, waiting to spray me with cold water. I smiled and took my time turning on the water.

That was just a little improvement. A nuance of a positive change. Very, very minor, but it made me think, “Why can’t this be the norm? Why is almost every shower, in almost every hotel I’ve stay in, not designed this way?” This is a rhetorical question. I don’t need an answer.

With today’s acute focus on the customer experience, the best companies are paying very close attention as they design the customer experience. They look for ways to improve the experience or avoid a mistake. Something as simple as putting the knob on the opposite wall of the shower head, or at least turning the shower head toward the wall, is an example of a minor improvement that may go unnoticed, until it later is.

So, what’s your organization’s version of the shower head? Where can you make a minor change that improves the customer’s experience, if even just a tiny bit? Talk about it with your colleagues. Brainstorm it. And, then make it happen. Here’s to a better, even just a tiny bit better, customer experience!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For contact information, visit Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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