by Seth Godin: Writes the most popular marketing blog in the world and is the author of the bestselling marketing books of the last decade.
Unless someone does, things start to fray around the edges.
Often it's the CEO or the manager who sets a standard of caring about the details. Even better is a culture where everyone cares, and where each person reinforces that horizontally throughout the team.
You've probably been to the hotel that serves refrigerated tomatoes in January at their $20 breakfast, that doesn't answer the phone when you call the front desk, that has a shower curtain that is falling off the rack and a slightly snarky concierge. This is in sharp relief to that hotel down the street, the one that costs just the same, but gets the details right.
It's obviously not about access to capital (doing it right doesn't cost more). It's about caring enough to make an effort.
If we define good enough sufficiently low, we'll probably meet our standards. Caring involves raising that bar to the point where the team has to stretch.
Of course, the manager of the mediocre hotel who's reading this, the staff member of the mediocre restaurant who just got forwarded this note - they have a great excuse. Times are tough, money is tight, the team wasn't hired by me, nobody else cares, I'm only going to be doing this gig for a year, our customers are jerks... who cares?
Caring, it turns out, is a competitive advantage, and one that takes effort, not money.
Like most things that are worth doing, it's not easy at first and the one who cares isn't going to get a standing ovation from those that are merely phoning it in. I think it's this lack of early positive feedback that makes caring in service businesses so rare.
Which is precisely what makes it valuable.