Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lowered Expectations.....

lowered Expectations

This morning I was reading through my twitter timeline and stumbled across a great blog article which came to me via Robin Walker (@RobinWalker – great person to follow, hilarious tweets, great links) It was called “Warm Bread is not Toast” by Chris Brogan ( and it spoke about the difference between “good enough” and “close enough” in business. It was a great article and the warm bread vs toast illustrated his point perfectly.

So, I basked for a moment in the afterglow that comes after reading something really brilliant and happened to glance below the post in the “related post” column. The top title “Warm the Mug” caught my eye and I clicked on it.

You have to read it. It was a short blurb describing a customer service experience that met and exceeded expectations. It spoke to an experience wherein the server not only provided “expected service”, but understood the finer nuances of exceptional customer service and delivered. Brogan was so impressed, he wrote about it.

It brought to mind a recent conversation I had with a friend who had just spent the evening having dinner at a trendy restaurant with her husband. She said they had received great service. I was intrigued and I asked her to tell me what prompted her to say that it was great service. Well, she said….the server was friendly, the food was warm and tasty and the kitchen was really understanding when she had to send her meat back the first time because it was a little undercooked. Really…I replied? Servers are supposed to be friendly, the food is supposed to taste good and honestly, it should have been cooked properly the first time. This is what a restaurant is supposed to do. You are confusing great service with it barely meeting minimum expectations.

Are we so desensitized by the poor service that we have received in the past, that we are now confusing superior/great service with the simple act of being served? Are we just happy that no one was rude, that we didn’t have to confront someone or defend ourselves? Are we happy that we didn’t have to renegotiate the bill, ask to speak to the manager or raise our voice? Have we become satisfied with mediocrity?

Was it close enough….yes, but really….was it good enough? No.

We can learn alot from Andrea, the exceptional server who warmed Brogan’s coffee mug.

  1. Little things DO matter: Never forget the details – they are often what is remembered
  2. Anticipate need: Like a chess game, always be one step ahead of your customer and their needs
  3. Be Professional: Be the very best you can be at whatever you do – be a professional

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