Nobody Remembers Ordinary Service


I did the “drive through thing” at the local fast food place that starts with an A last week and ordered those little potato bites instead of fries with my roast beef sandwich.  (I hate their curly fries) The lady who took my order was nice, polite, and seemed to be on the ball despite the usual drive through speaker distortion and I felt that she had my order correct.

When she took my money and handed me my food and the only words she said were, “Did you need ketchup?” I should have been tipped off to the fact that my order might not be correct.  Now I know that never happens to you but it seems to happen to me quite often.  I pulled around the building and reached into my bag and sure enough…….you guessed it…I know you are shocked……..curly fries and no potato bites.

I pulled into the parking space, walked in and up to the end of the counter away from the cash register.  The drive through girl ignored me as did the front person.  Finally a gentleman from the back walked up and looked at me as if to try and speak yet no words escaped his lips.  I explained my dilemma and without a word he turned and asked the 2 ladies which of them had filled my order. The drive through attendant confessed, but offered no apology to me or Mr. Strong and Silent. He turned to the fry master (or what ever his title was) and asked him if he had any potato bites up.  He did so Mr. S & S handed them to me without wasting the breath of an apology or to ask me if I was happy.

As I drove away with fries and potato bites it occurred to me that I was satisfied, I got what I wanted; but I was not totally satisfied. They all did the ordinary. What would have totally satisfied me? I know things go wrong, orders are filled incorrectly, service is delayed, and calls get spotted incorrectly.  As the bumper sticker say “Stuff Happens” I get that.

What makes me or any of us totally satisfied , is for the person that is representing the organization that I am trading my hard-earned cash for goods and services with to care.  I expect them to look me in the eye and say “You matter to me (us), I am sorry you have had this issue and I am going take accountability for the problem and do everything that I can to make our business transaction a complete value for you.” And then either do it or make me feel that they have done everything within reason to take care of my issue. Now that is extraordinary!

The following is a statistical analysis of customer satisfaction data encompassing the findings of over 20,000 customer surveys conducted in 40 countries by InfoQuest.

The conclusions of the study were

A Totally Satisfied Customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue to a company as a Somewhat Satisfied Customer.

A Totally Satisfied Customer contributes 14 times as much revenue as a Somewhat Dissatisfied Customer.

A Totally Dissatisfied Customer decreases revenue at a rate equal to 1.8 times what a Totally Satisfied Customer contributes to a business.

In other words the only way to compete and thrive in today’s marketplace is to provide extraordinary service on every level at every opportunity. What do we have to do to be extraordinary?
1. Make an excellent first impression. Smile, make eye contact, and make them feel welcome and valued. Take pride in how you look and dress, fair or unfair, people will form a strong opinion – appearance and how you make them feel.

2. Be friendly and personable. Be caring, confident, and genuinely interested in others. Use their name, acknowledge them immediately, keep your word, listen to them and do your best to make them feel important and appreciated.

4. Exceed their expectations. Most people and organizations in life do only what is expected of them and very little else . . . don’t let that be you.  Think of their needs and solve problems. (Before they are problems if possible.) Anticipation and execution will win the day and leave your competition behind you.

5. Put others first. Maturity is ability to make others feel significant. You will go far when you learn to place others before your own self-interests and make them feel they are the most important person.

6. Do choose your attitude. More important than your education, your seniority, your title or the money you make is your attitude.


Contact me to find out more about how I can work with you and your team to develop a culture of Outstanding service.

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5 responses to “Nobody Remembers Ordinary Service

  1. Maria El Faysal

    Great message. Thank you, Maria

  2. Great points on being extraordinary. I especially enjoyed #5 Maturity is ability to make others feel significant. My wife and I recently moved to NC and we have been discovering several great places that make us feel significant. The little extra care they shown has led to us frequenting their establishment. Our experience with them also stirs us to remember to cultivate significance in others we encounter. Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Renee

    Enjoyed reading your post, Phillip! It happens to me way to often as well that my order is incorrect… and they never offer an apology. I came to the conclusion that they aren’t paid enough to care or they just hate their jobs.

    • I would submit that the only way to earn more money is to care about your current customer and care about earning your current pay. Give first and then recieve. You can’t ask a fire for heat unless you give it some fuel.

  4. Thanks Phil for the story. I spent time analyzing your experience in my head (and on an empty stomach) and my reaction was to think in terms of offering alternate responses by the supervisor with star ratings. The response you shared was one star and common in most fast food joints. You may want to elaborate in future on responses of various degrees so that operators may get the message if they want to compare themselves to McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.or in hotels to Four Seasons, Marriott, Hilton etc. or Resorts etc. Yours was a perfect example to share and contributes to our industry in North America where we will have to pull together over the next five years to bring up our standards, or fall by the wayside. We are in an economic world-wide mess and only through improvements at all levels will we gain revenues. John Peter Fyvie.

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