A Little Thing Can Mean Everything

Running out of toilet paper. That painful wheeze of an empty soap dispenser pouring air onto your dirty hands. The fake plastic flowers on the baby-changing station that are gathering dust. The permanent out-of-order post-it-notes on the sanitary napkin dispenser. No paper towels left. The sick-sour smell of cheap disinfectant.

All of the above are little things that have happened to me in a restroom. They have never left a good impression on me about a restaurant. In fact, I have purposefully avoided some places because I know how disgusting or under-average their bathrooms are.

However, there is one bathroom I visited that was pretty simple, unadorned. I remember it today because, not only did it have ample supply of paper and a clean smell. The owner had bought the $2 nice-smelling Softsoap from a drug store and put it on the sink for use.

It’s $2 soap, right? I mean, why would that make me remember it, even rank it as a good place to go again? Aren’t we talking about a food place? Why would you even care? But I do, and I’m not the only one.

The little things can mean everything.


Here’s another story:

My mother changes her cellphone message every day.

It includes a hello, an explanation of her schedule for the day, a promise to get back and a reminder you can also email her for those times she’s on-site and can’t check phone messages but can, occasionally, check her phone’s email.

It takes her only five minutes to set up that new message every day, but it has a huge impact on how her customers react to not being able to reach her.

They know what’s going on, why she can’t come to the phone and when she’s likely to get back with her. An amazingly human piece of information that can calm even the most frantic of souls at least a little.

You can be sure that at the very least she’ll get your message by the same time tomorrow – when she goes to change her message for the day.  How many companies can PROMISE 24 hour MAXIMUM response time?

The message is a little thing, but little things can mean everything.

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