Sometimes It Is the Small Things

Orbit gum has gained popularity in the last year or so and it might be because of its great taste or ability to retain that taste for a long while. I believe it has more to do with a small thing that Orbit has done that few even notice though they greatly benefit from the innovation.

When consuming most gum, after you take out a few pieces, the rest of the gum falls out in your bag and you end up with squashed and dirty gum. Has this ever happened to your Orbit gum? No, because Orbit has done something to their package that keeps the gum firmly in place. There is sticky paper on the inside of the package. A small innovation we have been needing, but someone at Orbit was smart enough to find a simple solution to a common problem. It is an innovation that you may not have noticed at all, but you did know that you liked Orbit gum better for one reason or another.

Do we make our users’ lives easier without their knowledge or do we create a system in which they inevitably find their gum at the bottom of their bag, scattered and squashed? Are there ways you can improve your service that may not be obvious on the outside, but that make your users feel like somehow, this is a better experience then before?

  • Create an atmosphere of customer service. SERVE your users and listen to them. Why are you saying no to a request? Can you turn the no into a yes?
  • Signage. Does it cause more problems then it fixes? Do you have good signage, but your library is organized in a way that is so confusing that no amount of good directional signs will help? Do you have so many service points that users can be easily confused about where to go for what?
  • Is your staff happy? Happy staff give better service. Is there restlessness in the troops? If you are a manager and you are sailing along under the impression that everything is ok, you may want to check and make sure they actually are as sunny as you believe. It has been my experience that top managers seldom know what is really going on below decks. You can not fix the problem until you know what problem you are facing.
  • Does your virtual presence allow for multiple ways for users to give feedback? People appreciate it when you listen to their needs.
  • Are your online resources intuitive or must you offer detailed instruction to every person who comes in on how to find X or Y in your library?
  • Is your physical space comfortable? Do people feel like they can hang out, talk, study, and work in your spaces?
  • If you have meeting rooms, to you provide whiteboards, markers, erasers, etc.?

Small things, sometimes rarely acknowledged, but they can make an incredible difference.

–Jane, chews gum, likes the sticky paper in Orbit packages

One thought on “Sometimes It Is the Small Things

  • November 14, 2006 at 9:53 am
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    I hate that about the Orbit gum. I always had problems getting the gum out of the package. You can’t use gravity to knock them out so I have to get my fat fingers in the package and then I ended up squishing the gum to get it out. But what I hate more is my inability to close the package back up with that cereal box type clasp. It will never go in the slot.

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