Cake before the icing

Fresh from a long weekend in a very sunny village by the sea, I’m wondering…how’s it going with the pixie dust? Have you been putting your heart into your customer experience for the last two weeks?

Of course, ‘adding the magic’ as someone like Disney might put it, is no good at all if you haven’t got the basics right first.  In fact it will only serve to irritate and frustrate.

As a regular reader of the Frog Blog, you’ll know that I like a bit of British Bake-Off, and I was sad this week to see the lovely Scottish Flora leave the tent.  But throughout the series Flora has consistently made the mistake I’ve just described…putting the decoration before the cake.

Time after time, Mary and Paul would tell her to focus on the baking, get the cake right first, and worry about the frills and fancies, only when the the cake was properly baked. But, eager to please, she would spend time making beautiful decorations to adorn a half-baked, burnt, or blistered patisserie.

Like Mary and Paul, our Customers want us to get the basics right first – to be consistent with the quality of both our product and our service.  They want to be able to trust that we’re reliable, that we always get things right first time, that we will always look to make their life easier. 

The same holds true for our people.

Surprising them with freshly baked croissants, or the offer of a Friday lunchtime drink is great – but only if your basics are in place.  Communication, development, reward, performance management.  Get those systems sorted, follow them consistently, empower your people, reward them fairly, and your little gestures will be received as you want them to be.

Only then will they be delighted by your sprinkling of pixie dust.

Do one thing: Spend ten minutes today to consider if you have the basics right – for your customers and your team.  Don’t waste your pixie dust!

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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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