Meeting Customer Expectations = Customer Satisfaction.
The role of customer expectations in customer service is perhaps the single most important aspect of customer satisfaction.
If you don't live up to the expectation the
customer has in mind when they think of doing business with you, you run the
risk of losing that customer for life.
Let me explain it by sharing with you an experience I had a few years ago, that brought this concept home to me.
I was visiting the Science Museum in Boston with my oldest granddaughter. After a long day at the museum, we decided that before we headed for home – which was an hour’s drive – we would go to dinner. I asked my granddaughter where she’d like to go and she mentioned that the restaurant I’d told her about where they treat customers rudely. She said, “It sounds like fun.”
I tried to talk her out of it, but her mind was made up and after all, she is my granddaughter. I gave in and we headed for Quincy Market and the world famous, Durgin Park Restaurant. On the way to the restaurant, I continued to attempt to talk her out of it by telling her how awful it could be. I explained that you didn’t have a table to yourself, you sat at long tables and strange people could be sitting on either side of you. You never knew if they would be polite or loud or obnoxious. Her reaction was to say, “That sounds like fun.”
When that didn’t dissuade her, I then told her of a grandfather who had taken his granddaughter there and before dinner ordered a root beer soda for her. When the waitress brought the soda, it was orange soda. The little girl spoke up and told the waitress that she’d wanted a root beer. The waitress replied, “You’re lucky you got a soda,” and proceeded to continue on her way to serving other customers. She never did get her root beer. Again, this wasn’t enough to change my granddaughter’s mind. She just kept repeating, “That sounds like fun.”
When we arrived, after a short wait, we were shown to our table. Sure enough, it was in the middle of a long table, where two gentlemen (and I use the term lightly) were obviously over-served. They were sitting to my immediate right. I groaned inwardly and determined not to let them ruin my meal. Fortunately, they were getting ready to leave and we didn’t have to contend with them during our meal.
The waitress asked us if we cared for drinks. We ordered them and I noticed my granddaughter’s anticipation when she placed them in front of us. Surprise, they were the correct drinks. But, the night was young. We ordered our appetizers and meals. As each course was brought, we held our breath to see what could happen. What would the waitress say to us that might be considered rude?
Throughout the meal, the waitress was attentive and checked with us to make sure everything was to our liking. After dessert and the check was presented, we quietly left the restaurant.
As we were walking through the crowd in Quincy Market, my granddaughter looked up at me with a disappointed look on her face and declared, “Well, that was no fun. I don’t ever want to go back there again.”
To my surprise, she had mirrored exactly what I had been thinking. In that instant, I got it. It was what I expected to get before I even arrived at the restaurant that made me very dissatisfied with the good service we had received. I didn’t want to go back there again because I’d gotten good service, not the expected rude service they are known for. The waitress had ruined my granddaughter’s fun. I have never returned nor have I recommended it to anyone in the intervening years.
That is the power of customer expectations.
Like what you just read? Tell us about it. You can send an email directly to Margo by way of Margo@MargoChevers.com
Visit Margo's new blog "Chevers Chat"
A dialogue about Leadership,
Sales and Service.
© 2005 Margo Chevers