The Customer Experience Series: Tiny Hurdles & Miniature Hassles

As we learned in the previous post, little things like eagerness can have a huge impact on how your company’s service is perceived. At Chick-fil-A, for example, having eager employees who serve decent fast food with manners makes all the difference.

Conversely, little inconveniences I call Tiny Hurdles and Miniature Hassles can have an adverse impact on your company’s perceived service to its customers. As much as good customer service is about doing the little things right, good customer service is also about removing these hurdles and hassles.

To you and your team, the Tiny Hurdles and Miniature Hassles seem meaningless, though it’s critical to understand that the littlest of things add up to huge inconveniences for our customers.

Think about Chick-fil-A again. What if Chick-fil-A required customers to show their receipt every time they wanted a free refill of pop? This would create an artificial hurdle or hassle for the customer that would, at the very least, make them less likely to return to Chick-fil-A. Miniature hassles are still hassles; and requiring a customer to go back to their table and dig around for a receipt just to get a soda refill would actually seem unconscionable to most people.

As absurd as the receipt-for-refill policy might sound to you, there are likely customer-unfriendly policies just like this one at your company. Think about how inefficient these are. If you have a policy like this, you need to ask yourself “Are we really that cheap? Are we really that self-destructive? Are we going to treat all of our customers poorly just to catch that one guy out of 500 who is going to try to cheat us by trying to get a soda refill he does not deserve?”

Even minor hurdles can frustrate a happy customer or enrage an already stressed out customer. If you’re a manager, your job is to work to remove the Tiny Hurdles and Miniature Hassles that you and your team might be blind to.

From price overrides in a grocery store requiring a manager’s approval to having customers wait for seats in a restaurant that’s filled with empty, but dirty tables; what are just little things to us are considered artificial hurdles to our customers. They see and feel how inefficiently you’re running your business; and it bothers them. Sometimes they don’t even know why they don’t like your store or your restaurant, but they know that they do not.

But wait, these are still just little things, right? As long as we know we’re trying to provide good service, customers will see that, right? They’ll know it’s a good experience overall, right?

As you’ll learn in the next post in this series, what you think about your service experience is irrelevant.

Next up in the series: The Customer Experience Is What They Say It Is.

(If you’re catching this series for the first time, you may want to begin with the first post in the series: Why Does Good Customer Service Matter?)

About TheManager:

Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in The Customer Experience. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at