Column: It’s the little things that matter most


Commentary by George Klein

My business is all about improving the customer experience. As a result, my friends tell me about their customer service experiences – both good and bad. A few stories I’ve recently heard were about healthcare experiences, and they brought to light the fact that little things matter most and can have the greatest impact on satisfaction!

One story was about a friend’s mother who fell and broke her leg. She required emergency surgery and a couple days in the hospital. After day after surgery, she asked the nurse if she could wash her face and brush her teeth. The nurse said sure. An hour later, another person from her healthcare team came into her room and she asked again. As the day went on, she asked five more people! Everyone was friendly and eagerly said yes, but no one brought her what she asked for.

Another friend, who is an anesthesiologist, talked about his requirement of his nurses to provide patients in the operating room with a blanket from the warmer. He knows know the operating room is cold and patients are uncomfortable.

These are all little things in the grand scheme of healthcare. None are about the quality of care. But they make the difference in how patients feel about that care. My friend’s mom had a great surgeon; however, she left feeling like the hospital cared about patients.

In fact, 70 percent of customers won’t complain about minor issues, but those things are five times more likely to drive them away. Often, when a business hears from an angry customer, there is a series of minor issues leading up to the final issue that causes the customer to go ballistic.

What does this mean for businesses? Engage with customers and get feedback directly from them about their experience. Ask about their experience so they are comfortable telling you about even the minor issues they encounter. Also engage with employees. As they interact with customers, they can identify the little things that can improve the customer experience. These little things make your customers feel like you care about them and will lead to more loyal customers.

George Klein is the CEO/Founder of Peoplocity, a customer feedback and communication platform. Contact him at

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