Does Service Trump The Product?


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A friend of of mine and I decided that we would get together for brunch this weekend.  We live on opposite ends of the metro, so we settled on a popular area about halfway in between.  My friend offered up several dining suggestions and asked my opinion.

Since I had never been to any of the restaurants, I did the next best thing.  I Googled them.  After a quick scan of the restaurants’ websites, I was able to whittle the choices down to two options.  Then I dove straight into the restaurant reviews on Yelp.

Ratings were pretty much on par for both; they had decent food and reasonable prices.  They also each had a few key menu items that they were known for and considered “must trys”. 

But in my five minute of research, one stood out as the clear winner.  Why?

The other one had overwhelmingly negative reviews for their service.  And after reading a dozen comments right in a row that said the same thing, the only thing I could think was “Why would I spent my money here?”  Not only did I not pick that place, those reviews ensured that I would NEVER pick it.

Restaurants are pretty easy example where I think service plays a key role in their ability to build and maintain a customer base.  If you don’t like the service, there are usually plenty of other options.  But for products or services that are more scarce, are you willing to overlook a crummy service experience to be able to secure that sexy new contraption?

What’s more important to you?  The experience or the product?


(photo credit rbnlsn)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christy Smith
ThinkBlot Communications
I have over a decade of experience in client account management and satisfaction, and I have helped large organizations develop products strategies that gain maximum buy-in during implementation. In my previous roles, my client portfolio has included Fortune 500 companies in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, IT, and Telecommunications industries.


  1. In our research we’ve found people consider the “product” — food in this case — and the “experience” — the wait staff of the restaurant — about equally important.

    If the food is about the same everywhere, then the experience is what will tip the decision.

    If the service is equally good everywhere, then the food will make the difference.

    Just this week my wife and I decided to eat at a Thai restaurant that had offered a rather poor experience in terms of the ambiance and service. Yet we went there anyway because the food was simply outstanding.

    In an ideal world, we want both of course. Most businesses find it difficult to be outstanding on both the product and experience dimensions, so they should focus on one and make sure the other is at least “good enough” to not generate negative reviews on Yelp et al.


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