Flying Seraph

Bad News. Surprise & Delight No Longer Delights

A number of years ago, a mate dined at a particularly snooty restaurant with a few colleagues.

One fellow ordered a steak – ‘medium-rare’.

When it arrived, it was barely cooked. So he called the waiter across and asked gently: “Do me a favour my friend, ask the chef to whack it on the grill for another minute or two – it’s a little underdone for me.

The waiter returned awkwardly and said: ‘chef says that is medium-rare’.

Noting the waiter’s obvious discomfort the diner said: ‘Do me a favour, ask the chef if I can have a word with him.’

The chef emerged from his lair. A bit of discussion ensued. The chef dug in his heels. ‘That is how you ordered it’, he insisted. ‘Medium-rare’.

To which the fellow responded with the best line I’ve heard in ages:

‘My friend, I have a great mate who is a vet. Given 2 minutes, he could have that back on its feet.’

Amidst roars of laughter – the chef, too – he got his medium-rare steak.

Just as he’d asked.

Currently, Customer Experience (or if you’re a funky dude – CX) is all the rage.

The issue is where to set your standard for service/experience.

Over the years I’ve heard a great many folk speak of their intention to ‘surprise and delight’. So I wanted to draw your attention to work done by Andy Hanselman (@andyhanselman). It crossed my desk many years ago. It stands the test of time.

Andy’s view is simple. Customers with low expectations are relatively easily ‘surprised and delighted’ given a good experience.


But pleasing those that don’t expect much is hardly a standard to aspire to.

How about we set the bar a little higher and try to provide a great experience to those ‘difficult’, ‘picky’ folk we often come across?

People with high expectations.



Delight is a good starting point but not enough, he argues. How about we go for Devotion?

Devotion, of course, is the key to bonding, stickiness, advocacy, forgiveness…

In short, Devotion creates the share of heart that Millward-Brown shows delivers share of wallet.

On Andy’s chart, where would you place the chef?

If you opened your own restaurant, which quadrant would you aim for?

What about the business you’re in today?

What about the service you, personally, deliver day in and day out?

How will you create Devotion?

Please follow me on Twitter: @MarkSareff

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