I Shouldn't Have to Ask for a Napkin

We've all heard the term "expectations," and we've all heard the term "customer. They might be sensible or irrational, and they can be attainable or weird.

However, they are frequently suitable. As a consumer, I anticipate the following as a bare minimum:

  • The product or service should function properly.
  • The pricing of the product or service should be reasonable and comparable to similar items.
  • It should be safe to utilize the product or service.

These are the very bare minimums that I demand from a seller.

In their study "The True Value of Customer Experiences," Deloitte claims that

"It's more than simply making sure your clients get the items and services they want in a timely and efficient way to create a great customer experience. It's also about establishing relationships with actual people who can naturally advocate and build your brand via their online and offline contacts with friends and family."

They are completely correct. It's all about the "experience," as I've already said. However, a pleasant experience comes with expectations that the company must match – if not exceed.

Customers, on the other hand, have different expectations from their service provider. Consider the following scenario:

7 expectations of customers

Get a drink with a straw

A consumer would always anticipate that their non-alcoholic drink would come with a straw, particularly if they ordered it through a drive-thru window. And most, if not all, fast food establishments do this right every time.

When they bring you the drink, they also hand you the straw. It's a given. However, many eateries now require you to request a straw.

What about predicting the demands of the customer?

A takeout order includes napkins

This should be as clear as receiving a straw with a drink, but unfortunately, that isn't always the case. How many times have you drove away from a drive-thru window with your food bag just to discover that it's missing napkins?

This irritates me greatly. Isn't it true that a napkin is a must-have while ordering and eating food?

You'd think that every drive-thru would get it, but they don't. Why do I feel the need to request a napkin?

It'll be in the bag, I'm sure.

The cost of napkins has apparently escalated to the point that conserving a few pennies is more essential to the company than enabling consumers to wipe the ketchup off their lips. Would a takeaway soup order ever come without a spoon? Hmmm…

All of the food should be served together

The food business seems to be receiving a terrible name here, but I believe it is deserved. This is why.

A party of six individuals go inside a restaurant for a leisurely supper. Except until when the meal is served, everything goes well. Only 5 meals are sent out.

You wait since the waitress claims the final meal will be served soon. Or maybe you don't.

Should the five customers begin eating right now, or should they wait until the final dish is given to be courteous and maintain dining etiquette? How long will you have to wait?

Isn't it possible that their meal may get chilly and hence less appealing? Should they begin eating now in the hopes that the final supper will be served soon? Will it, however, succeed? What if it doesn't work out?

Any kitchen that can't make and deliver six decent meals at once is in trouble. Their issues, however, should not be passed on to the client.

The restaurant's failure must not make its customers feel uncomfortable since they want all of their dishes to be served at the same time. This isn't a ridiculous expectation.

Obtain a purchase receipt

The most recent thing I've observed is gas station employees asking whether you "want a receipt?" Many people do not want them, to be sure.

But why do you get them automatically from every other company? The supermarket is the place to go.

Also, the dry cleaner and the shoe shop. So what's stopping you from going to the petrol station?

Is it because you only need the receipt if you want to return something? Maybe.

But what about people who use it to keep track of their spending or reconcile their accounts? Isn't it true that they don't count? Don't they have comparable goals in mind?

My food isn't squished in a bag or container

You swing by the grocery on your way home from work to pick up a few things: milk, sliced bread, eggs, and maybe a box of your favorite cookies. The cashier is bagging your things while you swipe your credit card in the machine.

You express your thanks, take your bag, and drive home, only to discover that the milk has spilled all over your bread! Shouldn't the bread be put on top of or in a different bag from the less delicate items? Is it too much to ask?

Hours of operation that are consistent

This is a challenge that some smaller, privately owned firms face. They shut early if "business is slow" in the hopes of saving a few payroll dollars by sending their staff home early.

It also permits them to spend time with their families at home for supper. Sure, staying at home for supper is a good cause, but what about their customers who expected the business to remain open?

Especially those who traveled a long way to shop after checking the store's listed hours of operation.

Instructions for products that aren't tiny

Remember how I said the product or service should function as intended? So, how am I supposed to figure out how it works when I can't read the directions since they're written in the tiniest type imaginable, readable only by a grasshopper?

I expect the instructions to be printed so that I don't have to get out my beloved magnifying lens to read them. This is quite aggravating. (Please refrain from making "you're getting old" jokes.)

So, tell me, how many of these scenarios have you encountered? Is it unreasonable to demand decent service as well as the straw, napkin, and receipt to which we are entitled? Let's not even talk about the sliced bread!

Thanks to Steve DiGioia at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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