An Open and Shut Case… or Not

A couple weeks ago my wife and I went shopping.  We are thinking of upgrading something in our home and have been spending time getting ideas, checking out our options, and comparing style, price, and quality.

We drove up to the front door of one potential vendor.  The sign said, “CLOSED.”  I started backing the car out of the parking space muttering something about, “Gee they shouldn’t be closed on a Saturday morning.”  My alert wife noticed some lights inside and other cars in the parking lot, so I waited while she tried the door.  Sure enough, they were open.

We walked around, looking at some samples.  The salesperson showed us their products, nicely pointed out the features and benefits, and explained various options while explaining their services.  We were impressed by a well-presented, but not pushy, presentation.

Later, while leaving, I glanced at the “CLOSED” sign and went back to tell the salesperson.  “Wow! No wonder it’s been so slow today, you’re the first people that came in, and usually we’re pretty busy.”

It was obviously an oversight, as everything about this store was high quality.  The showroom was attractive and well maintained.  But how many people didn’t try the door that morning?  How much business did they lose?

Something little like flipping the sign to “OPEN” can mean so much to the ultimate success or failure of a business.

So, instead of rolling my eyes and making “tsk, tsk” noises, I’ve tried to use this experience as a learning moment, and I challenge you to try as well.  I asked myself, what obvious little details have I been missing?  I’m embarrassed to type further, but in the interest of full disclosure:

  • Forgetting to attach attachments to emails.
  • Overlooking an appointment in my calendar (luckily, I noticed it in the nick of time, but I could have very easily missed an important meeting.
  • Rushing through a task and not editing it properly, resulting in sending something out with a grammar error.

While any of these details could have resulted in the loss of business in one way or another, fortunately, I was able to correct them before there was a potential problem. But I can assure you, I’m taking a second look at everything to ensure I don’t miss the little details.

You should do it also; a customer is easily lost over little details, so don’t let it happen to you.  

Question or comment to Larry: