Remarkable Service Doesn't Have To Be Like A Root Canal

Aug 28, 2007 Michael Wurzer

Remarkable service exceeds expectations.   More often than not, though, the service provider is in control of your expectations or at least should be.  Let me give you an example.

I went to the dentist the other day after an extended absence.  I was nervous about the visit but the dental assistant quickly exceeded my expectations by setting them properly.   Every time she went to do anything, she succinctly and clearly explained what she was doing and why.  Then she told me the result of whatever she just did.  As she went on, my comfort and confidence in her and the process grew.  At the end, the dentist advised that I needed a root canal.  Ugggh.  But, I wasn’t surprised by it nor was I upset (except perhaps with myself), because they had been constantly setting my expectations.

In contrast, when I went to get the root canal,  the doctor was less forthcoming.  I knew I needed a root canal but I really didn’t know exactly what was going to be happening.  At each stage, my discomfort increased more and more because I wasn’t sure what was about to happen.  Had this doctor just talked out loud, I think it would have been easier and better, as I would know what to expect.  Occasionally, he would say something like, this is going to hurt a little, which was great, but I would have loved to know just a tad more about why.

Setting expectations is what remarkable service is all about.  In today’s world of hyper-specialization, the service we get is often from professionals who live in a world of complexity about their profession, which is why we’re going to them in the first place.  The true professionals, however, are those who can explain the complexity of their service simply, to anyone.  If you can’t do this, that means you need to learn more about your profession.  When you can communicate what you do and set expectations for your customers continually, accurately, and easily, you will find your customers remarking about how your service exceeds their expectations.