Some believe that they can get away with putting in a 90 percent effort because all those claiming to deliver 110 percent are making up the …
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Some believe that they can get away with putting in a 90 percent
effort because all those claiming to deliver 110 percent are making
up the difference.
Recently I have noticed that the service in my favorite local
coffee and bagel shop has been slipping. Some days I go in and they
are already out of plain bagels at 6:30 in the morning. Other times
I have gone in and paid for my coffee only to find out that my
preferred coffee urn was empty and would need another five or 10
minutes to brew. Most recently I went in and they were completely
out of half and half.
Now, my over-developed sense of obligation and loyalty keeps me
returning to the same establishment several times each week, hoping
that superior customer service will one day again shine through. Am
I setting myself up for disappointment, setting the wrong
expectations, or am I just a glutton for punishment? I would hate
to be forced into going to that other coffee shop with that really
bitter and burnt tasting coffee.
So although I can’t change the level of service, I can adapt my
own expectations for the morning experience, for the staff, and
most importantly for myself.
In an economy where businesses are being forced to do more with
less, my expectation is that each merchant will still maintain
enough support to provide the value or at least make every effort
to create a delightful customer experience regardless of the
challenges they face.
One restaurant where I was recently dining had made the decision
not to bring in as much seafood as usual until business picked up a
little more as the owner didn’t want the excess laying around. And
I can’t blame him there. When I ordered that dish, I was informed
of the restaurants decision and the owner actually came over and
explained the why behind his decision, assuring me that soon enough
he would have it back on the menu.
More importantly he went out of his way to make sure that my
dining experience that night was fantastic. It usually is
Personally, I didn’t need the extra attention, but the fact that
the owner faced up to his challenges and still created an amazing
evening tells me that he understands meeting and exceeding customer
Worrying about how others will either put in the 90 percent or
be a difference maker and go the extra mile with the 110 percent is
not as important as how we determine or set our own expectations or
how we choose to respond.
As much as I would have liked to have given the coffee shop
staff some serious grief, especially after the third week in a row
of poor service, they still would have been out of bagels, out of
coffee, and out of half and half.
Tolerance is a virtue these days, but we shouldn’t be expected
to settle. Being prepared with proper expectations while having a
direct and firm but fair communication with everyone, will usually
help change mindsets around new expectations and hopefully impact
behavior change as well.
How those around you deliver on promises is up to them, how you
respond is only up to you. And whether you feel like being 90
percent tolerant or 110 percent grateful that choice is also up to
Work toward meeting and exceeding your own expectations relative
to how you personally respond in all situations and you can
significantly improve your outlook and minimize
Tell me what you are expect in our community and from our
merchants at firstname.lastname@example.org and make it
a better than good week!
Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former
president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of
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