The greatest way to exceed expectations is to do it when it’s least expected.
A few weeks ago, I was in the drive thru of a large coffee chain. Order, pull forward, pay, and get my delicious blend of liquid chocolate. That’s the expectation. It didn’t quite work that way.
Order – check
Pull forward – check
I waited for several minutes while the person in the car ahead of me received the 57* caramel macchiatos, lattes, and frappes for the office. (* - the number of beverages may have been exaggerated slightly for dramatic purposes)
Was I irritated? No. Growing impatient? A little. I know I didn’t spend more than 5 minutes from the time I ordered to the time I was able to pull up to the window.
The office coffee cart order pulled away, and I pulled up to the window with my money ready. The employee approached the window with a smile. “I’m so sorry for your wait. Your beverage is on us this morning.”
Whaaaaaat?! My wait wasn’t really their fault. I got that. So did they. The employee didn’t roll her eyes when she approached the window. She didn’t blame the car in front of me for my wait. She simply mitigated any complaints I might have had by exceeding expectations when I least expected it.
Am I telling you to give away the farm? No. Should you consider a situation that is out of your control as a way to increase the loyalty of a customer and your marketing potential? Absolutely! For less than $3, they made my day and made me a raving fan. I probably told 20 people that day about my experience.
Where can you exceed expectations when your customer least expects it?