Wise Old Owl
A wise old owl sat in an oak
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?
– Author Unknown
The other night I heard Garrison Keillor recite this poem on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. As I was listening, I was thinking that it was excellent advice for someone who wanted to be a Design Associate at Room & Board.
Although listening is not a skill many proclaim on a resume, it should be. Listening to our customers is key to being able to have a meaningful engagements with them. Careful listening and asking questions should be how a Design Associate begins the process of working with a customer. Without fully understanding what the customer’s design and furniture needs are, it is not possible to provide the best solution for them.
It is important to give the customer the gift of our time and attention. Ultimately, listening allows us to deepen our connection to our customers, which is a win for everyone.
Image from vintage graphics
I have recently begun supporting the Visual Associate at our store. One of the ways I do this is by making sure the plants on our patios stay watered. I take pride in the plants and the beauty of the patios. At Room & Board, we care about the details. In fact, we like to obsess about them.
There is a theory presented in the book Broken Windows, Broken Business by Michael Levine that if broken windows in a building go unfixed, the other ones will soon break — and the neighborhood will deteriorate. He asserts that in order to succeed, businesses must monitor the tiny details or risk failure. He believes that customers can get a strong indication about how a company does business and how it will attend to big concerns by how it attends to the little ones.
The little things matter to us at Room & Board. We pay attention to the little things because we want to show our customers that every aspect of their experience with us is important. Great customer experiences are the sum of a thousand details. This is why watering the plants is an important job.
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make the big things happen.” – John Wooden