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Pay attention to the smallest things

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I had an experience at our Scout meeting this past week that reminded me once again that the smallest things can really change someone’s experience or perception of your business.

A young Scout took me aside near the end of our meeting and asked me to tell one of our older boys not put his hand on the Scout’s shoulder.

The older boy wasn’t hurting the young Scout, was doing this in full view of everyone at the meeting and was just being friendly as he asked the younger boy to help with a task during a meeting. For reasons I won’t discuss here (other than to assure you that it was not sexual abuse related), the older boy’s actions bothered the young man. He assured me that the older boy didn’t hurt or scare him and that there were no other issues between them.

As I told the older boy later, you just never know what the smallest thing means to someone, or what memory it brings back, and as such he needed to make a point of not using that technique in conversation with that particular boy.

Elijah brings it home with the tweet shown above.

Think really hard about the things you introduce into your customers’ experience. You never know what you are reminding someone of.

“What is your mother’s maiden name?” could be an incredibly difficult subject for someone.

2 replies on “Pay attention to the smallest things”

While I sincerely agree that we need to be sensitive to our userâ??s feelings, ultimately we only have control over our own intensions. The way an innocent question, or gesture, is perceived is not something we have control over or responsibility for. So long as we are not rude, disrespectful or hurtful, we are free from the responsibility of the past experiences of others. Asking someone their motherâ??s maiden name is innocent and therefore a perfectly acceptable question. It falls on those few who may associate the question with a bad experience to realize that it was not meant as a personal gesture to them. The myriad of experiences that exist among users and, with them, the triggers of the memories, makes any other objective impossible to reach.

Certainly we are not responsible for the reactions of others, but simple profile questions like the one mentioned can be made far more innocuous without losing their personal, semi-secure nature.

What color is your favorite shirt? 🙂

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike.

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