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And Then The Bread Roll Arrived...

Last updated April 15, 2014
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My lovely husband and I had arrived at the restaurant. A beautiful setting, well designed posh place. There was plenty of room between the tables so we could have our own conversation rather than having to listen to the table next to us, you know what I mean.

After a pre-dinner drink and a peruse of the menu our taste buds were singing with anticipation. Everything seemed perfect.

We were seated at our table (with the tablecloth too) and by now we were feeling special; attentive staff, beautiful surroundings and a fantastic menu. We placed our food and wine orders and then the bread roll arrived!

I had expected a selection of home-made Artisan bread (much like the image) for us to choose. Instead what arrived were 2 plain white bread rolls; the ones that grace the 2-for-1 shelves in the supermarket. Yuck! The expectation of a really special meal was dashed by the bread roll.

Our customer experience, which had been going so well, was ruined by the arrival of the bread roll!

In any business the devil is in the detail throughout the entire customer experience, not just bits of it. The restaurant had set the expectation high from the minute we arrived. Everything had been thought of and considered except that blasted bread roll.

I'm sure that the restaurant had designed every little detail when they started out, they set the menus and really understood its clientele. But somewhere along the way someone didn't follow the standards and slipped in a substandard element; the bread roll. And if they’re not careful it will become the start of the slippery slope. One thing slips then another and another and soon your exceptional customer experience ends up being mediocre, and expensive. Their customers will drift away and they’ll find it hard to win them back.

If you find it hard to be self-critical about the customer experience you offer then get somebody independent to mystery shop you and give constructive feedback on every element of the customer experience. Let them view it through a fresh pair of non-emotional eyes and give you some valuable feedback, probably the bits that you take for granted.

Trust me it will be worth every penny they charge you to get the customer experience right.

Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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