The Butterfly Effect

Could the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Singapore affect a hurricane in North Carolina? Can a "thank you" note open a new market in a small town in Montana?The butterfly's effect on customer service in small business

In 1963 meteorologist Edward Lorenz announced a stunning conclusion in support of his  "Butterfly Effect" theory - that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in another location.

I came across this theory in Harry Beckwith's  must-read "Selling the Invisible" . In the book, Harry tells the story of a department store clerk who turned a client's disappointment (alterations weren't ready) into a major purchase.

Whether you believe or question the the likelihood of the Butterfly Effect, the concept has profound, positive and negative, implications for business owners:tiny causes produce huge effects and they are not limited to customer service.

There are numerous examples of the Butterfly Effect like the elderly gentleman who tried to return a pair of tires to Nordstrom after insisting that his wife bought them there. The polite clerk explained that Nordstrom never sold tires but offered him a gift certificate anyway .

Wing flaps have negative effects as well: being ignored by a waiter at our favorite restaurant would lead us to decide to never come back and in an era of connectivity the negative effect will cause a tornado after we share our decision with everyone in our social network.

You must acknowledge the Butterfly Effect everyone on your team has on the future of the business.

Tiny causes create huge effects.

Here's the thing and what is often ignored by business owners: a positive experience is not limited to just customer service and it must be at the core of your corporate culture. While we strive to provide an exceptional buying experience a tiny and negative interaction in a different part of the business can also have huge effects: the accounting clerk who was sent to deposit checks and was rude to the bank teller may have started the equivalent of a tiny (negative) wing flap.

We all have bad days but what matters most is consistency and the cumulative effects of positive wing flaps.

Flap in a way that does not start a tornado. Positive company-wide flaps will lift not destroy.

Tiny causes create huge effects.

For more information about Chaos Theory click here.