How the List from Hell can help you provide Heavenly Service


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Unbelievably, customer expectations are through the roof, across industry lines. People are expecting to have immediate resolution gratification, and do you know why? I finally found out who to blame: it’s all because of Taco Bell.

“What?” I hear you say incredulously. “How can Taco Bell influence how customers are going to interact with my company? I’m not even in the food business.”

To this I simply retort, “Doesn’t matter. Taco Bell ruined it for all of us.”

Okay, all joking aside, the deeper truth here is that customer expectations are not just set by what your marketing department tells customers they’re getting with your products and services. Customer expectations are set by societal norms that are beyond any one company’s control, no matter how big or small your company is.

To expand further, customers who have a positive experience at Nordstrom’s wonder why every company doesn’t treat them the same way. Others who are “wowed” by a Westin Hotel experience use that standard to judge all other travel venues. The more these outstanding customer experiences start to blend into the overall life-experience of a customer, they begin to have internal standards that expect a certain level of service no matter where they go or what industry they frequent.

In short, the standards go up for everybody.

Now, when someone goes to a Taco Bell restaurant, they are greeted with a list of guarantees that the company provides. Seriously, from a customer service standpoint, this is the List from Hell. I think the only thing Taco Bell doesn’t promise is to wash their car if the customer is not satisfied.

But from the customer standpoint, this list is like manna from heaven. It provides a clear definition of what Taco Bell means when it says they want to ensure the customer is pleased with their dining experience, and what will be done if their experience doesn’t live up to these expectations.

The List from Hell, courtesy of Taco Bell

Is there room for disagreement on the customer perspective? Nope, the customer is always right. Is there a chance for a customer to take advantage of Taco Bell? Absolutely. But still, the customer is always right. Taco Bell has effectively hung it all out on the line to ensure that customers are satisfied, basically no matter what. End of story.

Now, while this works for $2 value meals and tacos, can this work in your sphere of the customer business? (Because, remember, if you’re in business of any type, you’re in the customer business, first and foremost). While you may disagree initially, I think you’ll find that this List from Hell is just what the doctor ordered. If you can pattern a similar manifesto for your business, there will never be a question in anyone’s mind that you want to please your customers. And your bottom-line will benefit, because your customers benefit.

Just for fun…

“Drive carefully, 90% of people are accidents.” – Anon

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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