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What great art teaches about the art of great service…

I started my career in show business, which also means I waited tables a fair bit. I learned valuable lessons from each about satisfying customers. Entertainment audiences want to be surprised. They want to see something they’ve never seen before. Customers of a business, by contrast, simply want you to meet their expectations. They don’t want to be surprised, unless those surprises are really, really good ones.

Seth Godin notes how the expectations you create often lead to disappointment and how important it is to match the expectations you create to the experience you deliver. A colleague of mine coined a term that illustrates the risks of failing to meet heightened expectations. He calls it “antici-pointment”. When a customer has heightened expectations, the failure to deliver on those expectations hits much harder.

As “The Sopranos” completed its storyline Sunday night (or didn’t, depending on your point of view), it disappointed a great many among its audience. * In film and television, though, that’s not always a bad thing. Great art takes risks that may disappoint its audience. The art of great service requires that any surprises delight the customer, every time.

Thanks to Fred Wilson, BTW, for a couple of really useful links. He never fails to meet my expectations.

The Sopranos Finale capsule review – I disagree with the folks who didn’t care for the ending. I thought the final scene was a brilliant example of how a guy can spend his life looking over his shoulder to have it either amount to nothing or to have everything go dark in an instant.

Tim Peter

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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  1. Sometimes…

    Web Worker Daily argues in favor of good enough with a viewpoint about “satisficing.” And while I think their general point is sound…

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