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Have you checked the cheese lately?

Complete success in business lies in the details. It is the multitude of seemingly insignificant little things that, when done well, lead customers back to your doors. Customer attraction and retention is the life blood of any business that wants to succeed, and therefore, must be a priority.

Recently, my girlfriend and I visited a local restaurant. We were greeted warmly, and promptly escorted to one of our favorite tables on the patio. Soon afterwards, the waitress introduced herself, and took our drink order. After surveying the menu, we decided on pizza. As we waited for our dinner to arrive, the waitress – taking great care to serve us well – brought out the pizza rack, plates, parmesan cheese and pepper flakes. Up to this point, our experience was wonderful. 

Moments later, our pizza arrived – hot, fresh and smelling, oh, so good. As my girlfriend started to sprinkle parmesan cheese on her slice, to our amazement, we saw that the bottom third of the container was filled with a green mold.

We both wondered how long it had been since all the cheese containers had been checked, let alone washed and refilled. How many times had this container been refilled while the mold was there? How many patrons had sprinkled their pizza with the moldy concoction? Had anyone gotten ill? How many of the other cheese containers were contaminated with mold? To say the least, this single situation created doubt in both of us as to the overall cleanliness and quality of this restaurant we frequent.

We reported our finding to the waitress, who – with sincerity and shock – apologized and quickly returned with a fresh one. She checked on us several times and, at the conclusion of our meal, approached us with her manager to offer their apologies, pay for our meal in full, and request that we give them another opportunity to serve us.

In business, you never want to give your customers any reason to doubt you and what you offer. The key components to your customer’s experience are the multitude of little things you do – or don’t do. Knowing this, it is imperative that everyone on your team pay the utmost attention to them. In this situation, simply by focusing on the task at hand and caring to a greater degree, those responsible for refilling these containers would have checked the cheese and caught this long before we did.

No matter what business you are in, ongoing training of your team, with the intention of creating excellence in the customer service experience is a very wise choice. Consistent, engaging, practical and interactive training – done by an effective and inspiring trainer – will allow you and your business to stand head and shoulders above others in your business sector.

Statistically, only about 10 to 15 percent of all businesses are “exceptional” ones. The vast majority exist in the “fair” to “good” range, with the remaining 10 to 15 percent in the “poor” category. A defining difference allowing excellent companies to stand out is their consistent attention to the details, and their unending effort to always deliver the ultimate customer service experience.

An interesting fact is that great pleasure, self-worth, confidence and contentment are derived from putting forth the extra effort it takes to do a job with excellence. And, those on the receiving end – your customers – also find great satisfaction from the exceptional products and service you provide.

Your business will rise above as you, the owner, take the lead in moving your business to the top of the field. As you establish an ongoing commitment to consistent focus, attention to detail, dedication to excellence and follow-through, your business will improve. With this mindset solidly in place, you will hire potential superstars and provide them with the ongoing training necessary help them be their best.

The happiness and success you desire in your business lies in how often you check your cheese … in paying attention to the little things. Rather than choosing mediocrity, choose to rise up; choose to enhance the potential of yourself, your team and your business. Although it is a never-ending job for those who want to excel in life and business, the rewards are so outstanding – and the results are so profound – that it becomes the only choice worth making.

Marcus Straub owns Life is Great! Inc. in Grand Junction. His personalized coaching and consulting services help individuals, business owners, executives and companies build teams, organizations and lives that are filled with happiness and success. He is the winner of the 2011 International Coach of the Year Award, and is also the author of “Is It Fun Being You?.” He is available for free consultations regarding coaching, speaking and trainings. Reach Straub by phone at 208-3150, by e-mail at marcus@lifeisgreatcoaching.com or on the website at www.lifeisgreatcoaching.com.
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