Lessons from an Empty Toilet Paper Roll

The other night my family and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant.  Dinner outings are a rare treat for us, so there is serious pressure on any restaurant we step foot into to provide us with not only great food but a great dining experience. As soon as we arrived, my daughter and I made a quick trip to the restroom to wash up.  I immediately noticed, being the female that I am, that there was no toilet paper.  Maybe it's a pet peeve because I'm a girl and there are just certain things I rely on, like toilet paper!  OK, fine, no big deal...move on to plan b.  After grumbling something about how the restaurant staff should really pay attention to these kinds of things to my daughter, we went back to our table.  

During the inexplicably long time it took for the waiter to come and take our order (the restaurant had maybe three tables full at this point), I looked around and noticed that our table was one of the only tables not to have a lit candle.  Even the tables that didn't have diners sitting at them had a candle glowing.

Now maybe it was because I was already crabby about the toilet paper incident, or the fact that we seemed to be waiting a long time to have our order taken, but this just annoyed me so much that I got up, grabbed a lit candle from one of the empty tables, used it to light our lonely little non-lit candle and told my family that we were now going to have not just one, but TWO candles at our table!  Take THAT, restaurant!

I've been thinking about this experience for the past several days.  As a business owner, I find myself paying attention to both the big and small details of how others not only operate their businesses, but how they treat their clients.  Sure, a non-lit candle is really not the same thing as, say, finding a bug in your food when you are eating out.  But it's a small detail that was overlooked that I noticed, and maybe other patrons will too.  Combine this with the other factors and it will likely have an impact on our decision to visit this restaurant again.

It made me reflect on how I run and operate my own business.  I am constantly thinking about ways to provide my clients with a fantastic experience, from the initial contact all the way to the delivery of their custom portraits and keepsakes.  I pay attention to the small details that can make a big difference, whether it's beautifully wrapped packages that get hand-delivered to local clients, detailed consultations that assist my clients in preparing for their sessions, or unique products that my client's will love (such as the Family App - see image below).  This year I plan to create an even greater customer experience by asking for feedback from my clients, as well as sharing more content that I hope my clients will find valuable.  I'm also developing a new kind of all-inclusive session that is designed with family life in mind.  You can be "first in the know" about these topics by subscribing to my newsletter at http://mad.ly/signups/59409/join.

While our restaurant experience was not as disastrous as it could've been, it reminded that little details do, in fact, go a long way, and I plan to keep my focus on them for my clients!

I've also apparently become obsessed with toilet paper and currently have 57* rolls of tp in my bathroom! ;)

*(number slightly exaggerated)

Photos_Lori Fuller Photography_0472