Why Attention to Detail is oh so Important

January 10, 2012

Details, details, details. We’ve probably all read about the ‘wedding details’ debate which dominated the blogosphere in the latter part of last year, but luckily for your sanity I’m not here today to add to that debacle. Oh no, I’m talking about the seriously important matter of being detail-perfect in your business.

How many times have you written a blog post only to go back to it and see a million typos? (guilty!) How many times have you gone to edit a photo and noticed a teeny tiny but now oh-so-bloody-obvious imperfection in the frame? How many times have you done something and thought ‘oh screw it, that will do’?

Worryingly there seems to be a huge number of people who don’t realise how imperative it is to get these seemingly small details perfect, and what impact ignoring them can have on their business. We’re all busy, sure, but not taking those extra few minutes to make something perfect could have a catastrophic effect. It can take just one little mistake or oversight to put off a potential client or to screw with your reputation forever.

Let me illustrate…

Now, I’m pretty sure the host of this QVC show won’t be remembered for how many e-readers he sold before he was fired. Nope, I guarantee you he’ll forever be the guy who accidentally displayed the F-word live on daytime TV. No matter how good the product is, how thorough the demo was, or how cheap it was being sold for, no one’s going to be buying it because they’re all to busy falling about laughing/picking up the phone and complaining about his mistake (believe me, I used to produce shopping TV – it’s a very delicate balance!)

Here’s another recent example that proves my point perfectly. I was sent some wedding magazines by a new bridal publication a few months back. They’d spent $50 shipping them to me from The States. I opened the covering letter and it started ‘Dear Blogger.’ Uh oh…big mistake…huge! There is nothing more annoying to a blogger (and one that prides herself on the personal approach in fact) than being addressed as just another ‘Blogger’.

This tiny detail that they’d overlooked, specifically not taking 30 seconds to personalise the letter with my name (hell, maybe even 10 seconds – ‘Kat’ is a short name), made me instantly judge the people behind the magazine. My thought process went something like this, “If they don’t even change the name on each cover letter they probably aren’t actually that bothered about making proper connections with bloggers…they probably just spammed their magazine to everyone with the vague hope of getting a response…they probably don’t even read and/or like my blog in fact… actually they’re probably just in this business for selfish reasons and to make money…gosh they probably don’t even like weddings that much…”

It didn’t matter that they’d spent $50 sending me their magazines, my first reaction was annoyance, and this one tiny oversight had instantly made me think all those judgmental (and possibly untrue) things about them.

Yes, I had sweeping and judgmental thoughts, but the initial gut reaction of someone engaging with your product/service for the first time is probably one of the most important (and genuine) reactions you’ll ever get. That tiny detail cost them what could have been a great relationship…and for the record, I haven’t seen the magazine mentioned on any other wedding blogs either, so I’d imagine that the other ‘Dear Bloggers’ that were sent the magazine had a similar reaction to me!

In the QVC example, imagine the initial response of someone who’d tuned into the channel for the very first time and seen that? (Again, this was something that was drummed into us at the shopping channel I worked for!) It doesn’t matter to a brand new viewer that this is the only mistake they’ve ever made. To them, this first impression is the lasting one and they’re probably not going to tune back in to let them make up for their mistake. This is very much like the scenario with a potential wedding client. If their first impression of your business is a negative one, they’re not going to come back to your website or send you a second enquiry email to allow you to prove their bad feeling wrong.

However it’s not all bad news, having that extra attention to detail can really help your business. A handwritten note, giving a client a little something extra with their order, pretty packaging, taking the time to say thank you, leaving an extra nice comment on someone’s blog – all these things can add immeasurable kudos. It sounds obvious but jeez, I can’t tell you how bad some businesses (and I’m not talking just the big soulless corporations here) are at this.

I’d love to know your opinions on this subject. Has a company ever overlooked a tiny detail that made you instantly judge them or not buy their product or book their service? I’d also encourage you to be extra vigilant with each and every minute detail of your business to make sure bad feelings don’t come your way. Think about it now, do you think this has ever happened to you?

All Photography Credit: Our Paper Shop via Miss Moss