Pay Attention to the Little Things

Just returned from a week on the beach in Panama City Beach.  Stayed at a beautiful condo complex with a fabulous swimming pool area, terrific ocean views, and quite friendly workers. And I will never stay there again. The management obviously does not care (or feel they have to) about the customer experience.  Allow me to explain.

Their promotional materials should read: a couple grand a week for a fully furnished condo, but don’t forget your toilet paper!  The room came with all the typical furniture (beds and chairs, TV’s etc), but they were plain cheap on the small things.  For the week, we were equipped with 1 packet of dishwasher soap, 1 roll of toilet paper, 1 trash can liner, and so on.  When I asked for additional items, I was told there is a Wal-Mart down the road, or you might be able to buy them in the gift shop.  Oh yes, when I even asked for a bottle opener, I was told those do not necessarily come with the room. The list went on.  And this is a beach vacation condo?

Want to hear the kicker.  We were told that we should run the dishwasher as we check out. I guess we were expected to go out and buy soap, so we could clean the dishes, after paying a $90, non refundable cleaning fee. I am surprised we were not expected to buy some sweeper bags and vacuum the floor!

The impression I left with was, “We the condo management are going to do the very minimum, so we can put as much of your rental into our pockets. Enjoy your stay.” What a shame to let little “stuff” like this interfere with the mission of providing a great beach front getaway.

For an incremental cost of probably a couple of bucks, all of those little incidental items could have been supplied and I would have left having a great experience.  Thinking about the customers needs was just too much to ask of this condo management group, I guess.  Heck, they could have added $5 to the weekly rental, made three more bucks, and I would not have blinked.

Couple lessons here. 1) Might any of your customers feel the same way about your relationship with them. Think about that. 2) Remember that sometimes the tiny little things have a bigger impact that you might imagine.



  1. Matt Curry says:

    Funny you should mention the little things. I’ll make the guess that the toilet paper was not Charmin- it was probably on a par with very light sandpaper. It is remarkable how some thoughtful effort can make a big difference in the experience. The same goes for our engagements with our customers. Little things like a sincere thank you, promised follow up and a intentional check in around agreed to activity can position someone above their competition. Stay aware, considerate and mindful for the relationship and the harvest will be fruitful.

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