Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 30 - This One Little Detail Can Cost You Business

“Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.”
-  Danny Wallace, Yes Man

In all the craziness of running my own business, it's easy to overlook little details that seem unimportant in the moment. As I hurriedly answer an e-mail or list a custom order, I want to be done with the task as quickly as possible. But, forgetting small details can really hurt in a big way. One example that always comes to mind is spelling - and I don't mean just lousy spelling that should be caught with spell check. I'm talking about the spelling of people's names. This particular topic really hits home with me because of my name - Theresa. It can be spelled two ways - either Theresa or Teresa.

I cannot count how many times in a week I see my name misspelled. In most instances, it's no big deal. If I'm at Starbuck's and the cashier asks for my name, I don't care how she spells it. I just want my coffee. We're having a quick business interaction and the spelling of my name is not important for the transaction to be completed. However, if I am a customer and having a long-term business relationship, then I hope the business owner makes an effort to spell my name correctly.

Case in point: I signed up as a consultant with a company a while back. My mentor was very high up in the company and I was really excited to learn from her. From the get-go, she spelled my name as Teresa. No big deal at first, but after a few e-mails and interactions, I very politely mentioned that my name was spelled Theresa. The next e-mail from her still had the spelling incorrect and I received no response to the comment about my name. Well, this told me two things:

1. She didn't care enough to read my e-mail thoroughly.
2. Spelling my name correctly wasn't important to her.

It took me another few weeks and several attempts on my part to get her to finally start spelling my name correctly. Since I thought we were going to have a long standing business relationship, I felt it was important that she know how to spell my name.

In the end, I stopped working with this company. The mentor didn't follow through in a number of ways, and looking back, ignoring my attempts to notify her of the correct spelling of my name was the first red flag.

Little details do matter and it's important to me that customers know they are appreciated and important. Taking that extra moment to double-check the spelling of their name before sending any communication is so crucial! Think about it - when you receive an e-mail, the first line usually contains your name and you will notice if it's not spelled correctly. Why have that be the first impression your customer gets from you?

What do you think? Is this important to you?

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