Monday, October 27, 2008

Between Order and Outcome

We ordered one strawberry waffle and a cup of coffee. We were told it would take twenty minutes and would we mind? I certainly did and was going to leave, but my wife exuded the kind of patience I could only imagine this evening.

The waffle and coffee eventually reached the table in less than six minutes.

Of course I brightened up but my curiousity's stabbing me: Why tell us it was going to be twenty in the first place? If the concern is to 'prepare' the customer for a long wait, why leave it at the information stage? Why not do something to compensate your guests for the long wait? 

In a word, why give bad news with nothing in return?

Note: This isn't like pizza delivery where customers expect a certain (even semi-substantial) time-gap between the call and the knock on the door. For that, yeah, go ahead and say it'll take 45 minutes, then surprise the family by reaching them on the stroke of the clock. Or better yet, 15 minutes earlier.

2 comments:

Derek L. said...

Because if you do something to "compensate" for the time, you are implying that there is something wrong in the first place. But there isn't. It will take X minutes. That's a fact.

"This project will take 2 weeks to complete. So I'll cut my price quote by 20%."

Doesn't quite make sense when you put it that way, right? Just my 2 cents. :)

alwyn said...

Ah, except the guy wasn't merely telling me the time as part of basic factual information. He was telling me the time because it was *longer than usual* - 20 munutes for a waffle? this ain't no well-done steak, man...;>)