Managing Expectations

Feb 05 2019

ecently, before ordering dinner, our waiter said, “we make everything fresh to order, so the food will take around twenty minutes.”

No one thought much of it, but it hit me; if he had not said anything, we would be angry fifteen minutes later since our food was taking a while. Instead, he flipped the equation. We now saw time as an indication of quality, not inefficiency. Up until probably 40 minutes of waiting, we would have just pictured a focused chef meticulously assembling our order. Every minute passing would just leave us more anxious than the last for the delicious food.

This is of course the opposite of what usually happens.

I think this applies to any business. Shipping times, email response times, etc. all can be estimated and shared. If they come with a good reason, these can be something that raises the perception of quality. It also allows the company to beat their own estimate and then increase satisfaction. I personally am fine with a longer shipping time, as long as it is respected. On the flip of that I recently had a package come two days late and it can really ruin your day.

I just thought this technique was genius and worth sharing.