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Newsletter #964: The “You Can Always Make It Better” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Remarkable companies know that even the smallest stuff has an opportunity for improvement — an opportunity to turn something ordinary, standard, or “good enough” into something worth talking about. You’d be surprised at the improvements your customers notice.

Here are a few examples:

1. Ketchup
2. Cord hooks
3. Lap mats
4. Check it out: IKEA or Death

1. Ketchup

Heinz ketchup packet design

Photo thanks to our teammate, Bridgette.

The ketchup packet is nothing new. In fact, it’s so familiar, it has what we call “the chocolate problem” (everyone already knows how great it is, so no one talks about it). That is, until Heinz made one small change to the design that makes too much sense, creating a packet that’s both dippable or squeezable. Now this Heinz ketchup packet is different from the rest, and it makes an ordinary condiment worth talking about.

The lesson: If they can improve the ketchup packet, what can you improve about your stuff?

2. Cord hooks

Apple laptop cord hook

Photo thanks to our teammate, Bridgette.

Apple is all about simplicity that makes sense. So it’s not a surprise this philosophy is built into their computer charging cords too. The only difference: Hooks. Because everyone hates pulling out a tangled mess from a laptop bag. It’s so obvious, but it’s that kind of simple problem-solving that makes even their charging cords better than the rest. (And it only takes two pieces of plastic.)

The lesson: Remarkable customer experiences rely on tons of these tiny details coming together — the kind that make customers think, “These folks think of everything.”

3. Lap mats

In-and-Out lap mat

Photo thanks to Flickr.

When you drive through at In-and-Out Burger they ask an unexpected question: “Will you be eating in the car?” And if you are, they give you a paper lap mat to catch stray crumbs (and burger grease) while you eat. It’s the same kind of paper mat they put on top of trays inside the restaurant — so they’re already ordering them, why not put them to more use? Meanwhile, their customers appreciate the extra attention to detail that shows they understand. (Plus, they won Best of Orange County’s Best Drive-Through award for it.)

The lesson: This extra little touch changes the conversation from “these burgers are too messy” to “how thoughtful of them to give us a lap mat.”

Learn more: Orange County Register

4. Check it out: IKEA or Death

IKEA product or death metal band

Photo thanks to IKEA or Death.

Bastig: A Viking metal band or a drawer handle at IKEA? Test your knowledge of oddly named furniture and music your mother hates with this “IKEA or Death” quiz made by Gatesman + Dave.

Check it out: IKEA or Death

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