How Can Thinking Small Propel You to Greatness?

Shep Hyken
3 min readJun 28, 2017

It was a major meeting for my friends at Volkswagen Australia. This was their Customer Experience Summit, and the theme for the meeting was “Think Small: Big Differences Come from SMALL Details.”

Jason Bradshaw, the Director of Customer Experience, shared his vision about Volkswagen Australia being recognized and known for their amazing customer service. His goal is for VW to be one of the best in the industry. His bold move was to tell the audience, which consisted of the ownership and management of the Volkswagen dealerships throughout the country, that everyone should think small. Really? How can thinking small propel you to greatness? Well, it turns out Jason was onto something… BIG!

It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, the bar for typical — or average — customer service is set low. Very low. That is a shame because virtually any business that doesn’t yet have a stellar reputation can be more competitive and successful if they would pay more attention to how they deliver customer service. All they have to do is be better than average — higher than the bar. And, how much better do they have to be? Just a little better. A small improvement. A minor tweak. That’s what makes big differences. And when that “just a little above average” interaction is something that happens again and again, as in it being consistent, then the customer says, “You are amazing!”

There are two parts to this concept you must pay close attention to. First, you have to find the places to be above average. Break down every interaction, or touch point, that you and your organization have with the customer. Then look for a way to make it better — even just a tiny bit better. Yes, it’s okay — even encouraged — to think small.

Second, you have to bake it into the process or system. It must be consistent. All the time. Not great one day and just okay the next. Anything less erodes the customer’s confidence.

Some of you might have been told to be bold and to think big! I love the idea of thinking big. Anything can be considered. The craziest ideas can and should always be shared. And, when you get an idea that works, then you have the opportunity to improve. But, sometimes those opportunities are few and far between. And, big could also mean expensive. Yet, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it is easier to think small — and it’s much easier to implement small ideas. Lots of small things can become a big deal.

All Jason Bradshaw of VW wants his dealerships in Australia to do is to embrace the concept of improving customer experience by just one percent. That’s it. Just one small percentage point. Make it one percent better than average. And, doing that across the board can mean huge improvement. It’s noticeable because it’s consistent. Thinking small the right way can be huge!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Originally published at on June 28, 2017.



Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken, customer service expert, business speaker and New York Times bestselling author, helps companies deliver AMAZING customer service and experiences!