Sunday, October 30, 2005

Managing Expectations

Sometimes something seems very simple to you. Sometimes something you do does not seem like a big deal but to the person you do it for, it is a big deal. This Halloween, I am reminded of this by my daughter. About a block away, there is a house that for the last three years has done something extraordinary for the kids that stopped by. One year the person gave out a bucket of candy to each kid and one year he gave out those super sized candy bars. He made a point of asking “Have you been to the good house yet?” “Which house?” the kids would ask. “Wait, my house is the good house.” So this year, when we went down to his house, which is out of the way, we were surprised that the light was not on. I could see they were home, but not doing it this year. We still had a great time, but it did let the air out of the experience a bit. Expectations were high. Now think of your customers as kids at Halloween and think about what they walk away thinking. Porch light out: They don’t care about me. One Tootsie Roll: They are doing the minimum to get by. Take a couple of things, sweetie: Generous and care about me. Full size candy bar: I will remember to come back to this house next year, along with 50 of my friends. If you are going to be special, be ready to make special a SOP [standard operating procedure] because once people think of you as special, ordinary will be very disappointing.