Week 3: Sweat the Small Stuff

This week’s post is focused on how critical attention to details is to maximize customer satisfaction and perceived quality of your product or service.¬†It’s a Jungle in There¬†author Steven Schussler points out attention to details results in the elevated customer service that can transform a casual patron into a loyal, lifelong customer. The impact that this attention to details can have when investors notice can be huge too.

My experience certainly reinforces the importance of sweating the small stuff. It is hard to know what detail will be the thing that connects with a prospective student considering our MBA. In the same way, you never know what missed detail might turn someone off. I’ve found one of the best ways to do more of what is working and fix the things that aren’t is to have a regular dialogue with prospective students. When you actively listen for the the good, bad, and ugly you can take your business higher and build fully satisfied and committed customers.

Schussler shares the famous reputation of Conrad Hilton and how burned out light bulbs signaled deeper issues in the performance of one of his properties. These small details really do matter, particularly before you’ve established a relationship with your customer. Working with a product that is high price only heightens the expectations of potential candidates, as they are looking for signals that the extra money they’ll spend will result in a greater value over the short-term and longer term.

One example of how we sweat the small stuff is our extended interview day. Each candidate receives a padfolio filled with supporting materials about our program printed in color that they get to keep, whether they are admitted or not. As candidates arrive, we take a photo of them standing with a life-sized Demon Deacon statue in our lobby. At lunch, each of them receives a color copy of their photo in a photo holder with our logo embossed in gold. We offer each person interviewing two formal interviews, sessions with career services and student services, and time with current students and alumni. Each part of this experience reinforces the prestige of the brand, competitiveness (exclusiveness) of admission, quality of the experience, depth our our relationships, and the intimate, personal experience of the program. We feed them lunch, have water in the interview rooms, validate their parking…the details go on and on.

No one in our market does anything even close to this, so when our candidates are considering multiple schools and compare their experiences the differences are very clear. These premium details are not things that everyone values, but for candidates who are looking for signals that a program is “the best” we stand head and shoulders above our competition. That is our goal and our brand promise.