I was on vacation last week, and one evening, I went out to dinner with my family. To set the stage, we called the day before but were told they don’t take reservations – however, they do take names of people who call ahead. We asked if it might be busy at the time we planned to eat but were assured there would be plenty of room. So far so good.
Now, it’s dinner day. We call again before leaving to confirm our party number and to verify our name is on the list. “Sure, come on down!” they say. “All set.” We arrive for dinner, but we’re not really on the list, and they tell us it’s going to take an hour. Can we move some tables together, we ask? No, some are round and some are square. There isn’t much they can do for us.
Long story short, we only waited for about 30 minutes, the meal was excellent, and we had great service! Even so, our experience was tainted. Why? Based on the conversations we had by calling ahead, we thought they’d be expecting us and that we’d be seated quickly. We would have arrived with a different set of expectations if they’d told us we might need to wait.
Setting clear expectations is the key to providing customers with a positive experience. It’s all about building a relationship and doing your best for your customers. Strive to give your customers the experience they expect because typically, it’s the one you lead them to believe they’ll receive. Say what you mean and mean what you say!