The Butterfly Effect


Several decades ago at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Edward Lorenz posed a question: “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”  Since that time, “the Butterfly Effect” has been the term used to describe situations where a small action results in a large effect.

Does your company have “butterfly effect” stories about your customers?

Have your customer service staff seen a large impact from a  small action they have taken for one of your customers?

At Client Insight, we have interviewed many customers for our clients, and we have come across a number of “butterfly effect” stories.  Here are just a few:

Making up for a mistake

From “the customer is always right” file comes a related phrase; “Don’t be afraid to admit to your customer that  you are wrong.” Humility goes a long way with customers. Rather than being afraid to admit your company has made a mistake, you should train your staff to recognize the value of doing so in terms of the esteem you gain in the eyes of your customer.  Nothing is worse than making excuses or blaming the customer for what has gone sideways. Always take responsibility for the mistake, and then exceed the customer’s expectations when making it right.

Going the extra mile

A manufacturing company has a customer located in a remote part of the country. When that customer had a breakdown and required a crucial part for his equipment, the company drove the part to an airport for overnight delivery on a small plane to enable the customer to be up and running the next morning. That was a “going the extra mile” experience which won the customer’s respect and loyalty.

Picking up a dropped ball

One of our clients provided a kitchen renovation to a customer who discovered that once the project was completed, the company had not placed the recycling bin into its  drawer in the new kitchen. After an angry complaint to our client, the customer received the recycling bin within two hours, and was amazed at how quickly the matter was resolved.  Our client’s quick response resulted in that customer providing a very positive review.

It’s the little things

A renovation company received a great review from a customer who appreciated the little things that were done. Here is the customer’s comment:

“The electrician was a great guy. He did the things he was required to do and he did extra things as well. There was a fiddly type of chandelier and I didn’t think he needed to worry about putting the baubles on it.  I didn’t say anything, but he did that extra job and put all the baubles on the chandelier. I appreciated the little extras that he did for me.”

Most likely, our front line staff who deal with customers daily have got a number of “Butterfly Effect” stories.  Make an effort to have your staff collect those stories. Better yet, consider the value of having a third party market research company like Client Insight gather those stories as well as meaningful and actionable customer feedback for your company.

If you would like to gather and leverage the “Butterfly Effect” stories you’ve had  with your customers, give us a call.

CI Logo 160706

Listen – Measure – Improve, it’s a profitability strategy for your company.