The “Small Stuff” Isn’t So Small After All

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” goes the old saying. For most things in life, that’s actually pretty good advice.

You don’t need to spend an hour deliberating in the grocery store aisle about which breakfast cereal to purchase. It’s also not necessary to agonize for several minutes over which book of stamps (“Should I go for flags, flowers, or famous musicians?”) to buy at the post office. Similarly, five minutes after all the birthday presents are open, neither you nor your friend will remember which wrapping paper covered your gift for him, so don’t spend a lot of time searching for “the perfect paper” for the task.

For all of those things, the impact of your decision doesn’t last long and doesn’t reach very far. Whether you eat Cheerios or Raisin Bran, for example, doesn’t really matter beyond the fifteen or so minutes you spend at the breakfast table. Once your cereal bowl and spoon are in the dishwasher, you’ve moved onto other things.

When it comes to running a business, though, you really do need to pay attention to the small stuff. The decisions you make—particularly where customers are concerned—can have long-lasting and powerful impacts on your organization.

Just like you, your customers are running businesses. And that means they’re looking nonstop for the most efficient, most productive, and most cost-effective ways to provide their products or services. So always assume that your customers are constantly evaluating and judging you. Even if you have an excellent relationship with a particular client, never rest on your laurels: always keep doing your best to provide excellent service to each and every client.

You’ve done the “big stuff” to land your customers by proving to them how you stand out from the competition in your services, knowledge, pricing, and a whole host of other areas. It’s the “small stuff,” though, that keeps your clients around. The “small stuff” demonstrates to your clients that you are still prioritizing your relationship with them and are always on the lookout for ways to help them. Trust me: clients do notice these things!

The “small stuff” doesn’t have to break the bank (or clog your schedule), either. It can involve sharing knowledge in ways that increase your unique value proposition. Or maybe giving clients “freebies” that don’t cost you much (or even anything, in some cases) but are incredibly valuable to them. Take the time to figure out each customer’s need and customize the “small stuff” you offer to fit those needs. Just as you consider your own business to be unique, treat each of your clients as one of a kind and identify which details you need to focus on in order to help (and please) that customer the most.

If you’re ever on the fence about a customer service decision—that is, truly undecided about which is the better course of action—your best bet is to take the route that will provide the most positive experience for the client. What you do might be just “small stuff” to you, but to your customer it can be a very big deal indeed. If you want to strengthen your reputation for excellent service in ways that build customer loyalty and win you referrals and new clients, you definitely do need to “sweat the small stuff’!