It Only Cost a Buck

Question: Recently I read an online customer review about my business and it was pretty mediocre. We delivered the service we were supposed to. Why would someone give us such average marks?

Answer: Maybe the service was mediocre. It’s my theory that people generally expect average which is a pretty low bar. That’s also why it’s so easy to wow customers with a little bit extra. There just aren’t a lot of companies that consistently deliver the wow factor.

While vacationing recently I had the opportunity to eat in the same restaurant while driving to our destination and again when driving back. Apparently the general policy at this restaurant is for the server to leave the ticket at the end of the meal and the customer pays at the cash register. During my first visit, our server saw me take out my credit card and asked me if she could take the ticket and my credit card and handle the payment without my having to go to the register. This was a small but friendly touch that resulted in my rounding up the bill to the nearest five-dollar amount and calculating her tip on that basis. My visit on the return trip was, well . . . average. Our server was friendly enough but when the time came to settle up, I put my credit card on the table with the ticket and it sat there. She came back twice to clear dishes but never made a move to pick up the credit card. I finally paid at the register and guess what I did? I rounded down to the nearest five-dollar amount to calculate her tip. It only cost her a buck, but imagine what that could add up to over the course of a year.

In my second encounter the server didn’t do anything wrong. In fact she was undoubtedly following restaurant policy. Thus she met my expectations. But it wouldn’t have taken much for her to exceed my expectations as her colleague had done a couple of weeks earlier. This minor incident highlights the fact that it doesn’t take much in this average society of ours to really stand out. As entrepreneurs we’re always looking for ways to differentiate ourselves and our businesses. We don’t need to get fancy about it. Just understand what average is and find simple and friendly ways to beat average.

The same lesson applies to life in general. Do we want to have average relationships? In my book, life to a great extent is about the people that pass through it. I’d like to think that the people in my life get more than “average” from me. Having the mindset of always giving a little extra effort will make this so.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

dollar bill

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