Are you exceeding customer expectations or falling short?


Share on LinkedIn

moment of truth nyc

Shifting a Paradigm

In the summer of 2009 I had a MOMENT OF TRUTH. A moment that changed the direction of my life forever.

I was in New York City with a colleague. Brad and I were at a rooftop bar waiting to meet a few people before heading over to a networking event.  I was enjoying (as you can only do in NYC) a $15 beer. I noticed a guy sitting on his own for over 20 minutes. It was obvious that he was waiting for someone. I struck up a conversation about waiting by offering my standard line:

“Do you know that we spend 10% of our life waiting?”

Can you imagine that we spend roughly 2.4 hours a day waiting? I mention this when I speak to large groups and most people nod in agreement. Some say that’s not even close to enough.

[Well, let’s set the record straight. It’s true because I once read it on the internet]

Being on timeBack to the story. This guy laughed and we started talking about waiting and the importance of being on time. I said,

“Well, obviously your friend is not on time.”

Right then this guy looked at me strangely and said something that a MOMENT OF TRUTH [a true ‘knock you in your tracks’ Tyler Durden from Fight Club moment].


Dikembe Finger Wag “NO”

I’ll paraphase it:

“There is no such thing as being on time.  Being on time is a fallacy.  You either are early . . . or you are late.  No one is ever on time. Being on time is a myth.”

I immediately starting thinking about how this applies to business and the idea of meeting expectations.  I’ve always thought the idea of meeting expectations is a surefire recipe for losing business.  It’s similar to playing prevent defense in football . . . the only thing it does is prevent you from winning.

This new paradigm has only made it clearer for me.  Meeting expectations is a myth.  Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and Meeting Expectations.  Sorry kids . . . they are all myths.

You either fall below expectations or you exceed them. It bears repeating:

There is no such thing as meeting expectations

In a world where nearly 80% of customers describe their customer satisfaction as satisfied or very satisfied before going on to defect to other brands, ‘meeting expectations’ is no longer an option.

The Solution: 

purple green and golden goldfishMake it a practice to always overdeliver. Find ways to give a little extra, by finding your purple, green or golden goldfish. Simply set your bar higher than the expectations of your customers and employees. Provide a little something extra for good measure. Your goal should be to strive to bring unique value to the customer. Never settle for being seen as a “commodity.”

Are you standing out in a “sea of sameness?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – If you haven’t seen Fight Club, here’s the movie in 15 minutes. The Tyler Durden WTF moment happens about 11 minutes in:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here