Outstanding Detail

What’s an outstanding detail?

An outstanding detail is a vivid, sensory detail that symbolises a message or the essence of a story.

I’ve done a lot of research and run a lot of workshops on customer service.  One of the great books I’ve read several times is The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath.

The key idea of their book is that a great customer service experience is not defined by the average of the whole experience but by the remarkable moments in that experience.  The book is full of research data and they argue their case well.

But what struck me is their story about an average hotel.  They write that the lobby looks like a waiting area of a car service shop.  Yet there is something special about this hotel. It gets rave reviews.

At the swimming pool, there’s a cherry red phone, and that’s a Popsicle Hotline.  After your swim or before it, or while just lounging by the poolside, you can pick up the phone, order a popsicle, and it gets delivered to you at the poolside.  You don’t pay anything.

Hotel guests talk about the hotel because of the Popsicle Hotline.  Nobody talks about the average hotel lobby.  Everyone talks about popsicles.

I first read this book nearly ten years ago, and I still remember the story of the Popsicle Hotline.  It’s a sensory detail, so it’s easy to remember.  Moreover, the popsicle symbolises the main lesson from the book.  It’s remarkable moments in a customer’s experience that inspire rave reviews.

The Power of an Outstanding Detail

Small stories are short, and you don’t always have the opportunity to include an outstanding detail.  But sometimes you can.

So, look for a sensory detail that could symbolise your message.  Such an outstanding detail will make your message shine more brightly, and people will remember it even better … just like the Popsicle Hotline.

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