The Ninja – Power of Expectations


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The following is a guest post from Ted Coine.  Ted is an author, speaker and CEO who is passionate about service delivery, culture and leadership.  Ted writes about Five Star Customer Service on his blog at The Savvy Capitalist
You can also follow Ted on Twitter @tedcoine

Charge $599 or more for a hotel room and your guests are going to anticipate phenomenal service. You’re going to be hard-pressed to knock anyone’s socks off, because your customers are already expecting to be wowed.

But what about when you’re only charging $3.99 for an all-you-can-eat buffet? The expectation now is, “Service? You mean the staff doesn’t spit on you as you go through the line?” Lack of spitting in-of-itself becomes a plus.

It’s the undeniable Ninja-Power of Expectation. Like the stealthy Japanese martial-arts masters it’s named after, the Ninja-Power of Expectation will take your customers by surprise and render them helpless to resist you. …Although in this case, they won’t want to resist you, because you’re taking such good care of them.

The Ninja-Power of Expectation is one of the most immutable – and therefore most useful – tools in the arsenal of any but the most upscale firms.

The two preceding examples are from the real world; from two businesses situated only a few miles from one another in my hometown of Naples, Florida.

The first is the Ritz-Carlton, a perennial top-ten among resort destination properties in the United States. And it lives up to its reputation. In terms of service, location, and amenities, our Ritz really is “all that.”

The second example is the Naples branch of CiCi’s Pizza. The décor isn’t fancy in any way. The food isn’t exactly delicious, although the pizza is better than Domino’s, and the salad beats Olive Garden’s.

But if CiCi’s isn’t fancy and its food is far from mouth-watering, its service is shockingly terrific. Seriously. For example:

  • The manager introduces himself by name and welcomes each guest as they pass through the buffet line.
  • He engages your children in conversation as they pass in the aisles. He makes them feel so special they call him “my friend Paul.”
  • He comes by to check on you at your table.
  • His staff asks if they can make you any special orders. You say, “No, I was looking for mushroom, but I’ll take this pepperoni instead,” …and a few minutes later, they deliver three fresh-from-the-oven mushroom slices to your table anyway.
  • They all smile, and really seem to mean it.
  • The manager and some of his staff thank you on the way out, and invite you to come again.

This kind of service happens all the time at the Ritz. So what? At their prices, it’s only what we all expect.

But what about CiCi’s Pizza? The power of surprise, of expectations far exceeded, has customers eager to come back, friends in tow.

…And what about your business? Would you be able to tap into the Ninja-Power of Expectation? Would that have a positive result on your earnings?

Something to think about, isn’t it?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Barry Dalton
Telerx Marketing
Consumed by the pursuit of delightful service. Into all things customer loyalty and technology. My current mission is developing new service channels and the vision of the contact center of the future.


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