Satisfaction vs. Perfection


Managing the Customer Service Experience


Lesson Info

Satisfaction vs. Perfection

So we'll dive right in with satisfaction versus perfection. Now, one of the things that I do besides consult is, I'm a teacher, and I teach at a culinary school in Manhattan. So I teach culinary students, and one of the hallmarks of being a culinary graduate is being able to cook a steak by feel. So there's all these ways of feeling it on your hand to see, you know, like what equates to well done, medium well, medium rare, rare, et cetera. And the wonderful thing that they learn is how to cook a perfectly done steak to medium rare. Yet I always tell them, there's no such thing as medium rare. And the students are just like, seriously, what, are you messing with me now? Like, I just perfected the skill, I can cook to medium rare, and now you're telling me it doesn't exist? And I'm like yeah, there's no such thing as medium rare, and the reason why is that, for every guest who thinks your medium rare is a little overdone, and for every guest that thinks your medium rare is a little under...

done, it's no true thing. So you can cook it perfectly, but at the end of the day, if your guest thinks it's not perfect for them, you just lost the game. And as a restaurant person, I've worked years and years, 30 years in the restaurant business, I can't tell you how many times I would have to go to the guest, they say it's not cooked properly, I look at it and I'm like, it's pretty perfect to me, okay? And I take it and I have to go back to the kitchen, and then I wage a war with the kitchen, trying to get them the steak that's not really medium rare, it's actually a little more rare than medium rare. It's not rare, but it's not medium rare, it's in the middle. But the idea is that it's about satisfaction, it's not about perfection. Yes, they may have cooked a perfect steak, but if my customer doesn't like it, then we've lost the whole game. If I can't satisfy them with that perfect steak, it doesn't matter that it's perfect at the end of the day. So we're gonna talk about that. Satisfaction, the fulfillment of one's wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this. Who doesn't want satisfaction? Satisfaction is awesome, right, I want that. When you see this definition, satisfaction, what do you feel, do you get any feelings from this? Anything in particular? Warmth. Warmth, yeah, I want some of that, right, I want what she's having. That looks good, I want satisfaction. Now how about if we look at perfection, the condition, state, or quality of being free, or as free as possible, from all flaws or defects. Little bit different. Do we feel warmth from this? No. Sorta picture almost like the super modelly thing, like completely almost unattainable, right? Maybe attainable, but somewhat unattainable. Is anyone here a perfectionist? Constantly chasing perfection, barely ever able to reach it? Yeah, perfection is one of those things, it's so high up, it's kinda fun to chase it, but it's almost impossible to have it. Whereas with satisfaction, that's something we could actually have. My needs or my wishes or my expectations could actually be met. That's a wonderful fruit dangling down. Somebody dangling that in front of me, I'm like maybe I could actually get that. Perfection, it's a little bit higher up. I'm gonna have to really get on that tree to try to get up and get that fruit, that's much higher up. So when we think about these two, the perfection is about you or your product. In a way, it's about ego, and it's self-important, it's about that product being so perfect, that thing, or that thing that I do is so perfect, versus satisfaction, it's about meeting the needs, the actual needs of your customer. So if your perfect steak, your perfect medium rare steak is not satisfying, is it really perfect? You'd have to ask yourself that question. If your product is not satisfying the expectations of that client, is it really perfect? Maybe not. So it's important to look at those two things, because they're the same side, or two sides of a coin about customer satisfaction, and that's really, really important. So, satisfaction is what your clients are seeking. They are seeking satisfaction. Now, perfection, though, is in having the needs met, the perfection is in finding that satisfaction. So we have to make sure that we're able to find out what that is. Now, when I worked at this four star restaurant in New York City, four New York Times stars, three Michelin stars, the highest of the high, we had to deal with customer expectations an awful lot. When I was at the restaurant, it was named to the Pellegrino's 50 Best list, and it was 50 Best Restaurants in the World, number seven was our number. Number seven? I've never been to one through six, I've barely been to, you know, eight through 49 and 50, and now we're seven, and I've gotta uphold this experience for all these people? Holy cow. So it makes you think about the satisfaction, what are they seeking? So in that sort of environment they're seeking a personal attention, they're seeking world class food, they're seeking an unusual and beautiful environment. So those are all things that we had, but we've gotta think about having your needs met. When we we were there, one of the common things you do in restaurants is serve people extra stuff. So at a normal restaurant, if somebody is celebrating something, we'll send them champagne, we'll send them a dessert on the house. Someone's having a tough time, we might send them something for free, or send them something extra. But when you work in a restaurant where there's nine courses sending somebody something extra, well that's actually gonna keep them there longer, they don't actually have room. Something extra is not actually a benefit. So we've had to really think about the perfection that we were actually trying to serve. For some guests it was less, I can't eat anymore, please stop, right? That was perfection for them. Some guests were like, I don't want every course. You don't want every course? If we thought about perfection, our idea of perfection was you eat every course. But perfection for some guests was, I can't, I can't possibly, I want to enjoy everything, right, I want to enjoy the courses that I choose. So we had to be very flexible with the idea of satisfying our customers, because sometimes they wanted a version of what we did. And a version is okay, a version's a wonderful thing. So when we talk to people, we need to find out what they need, and that's gonna be best served by using open-ended questions. So there's open-ended questions and there's closed-ended questions. So, does anybody have an example of a closed question? Has anyone heard of a closed question? They're very often on, like, TV police shows. Right, yeah, so you're shaking your head. Yes, no answers. Yes and no answers, right. So you knew about that, you knew about that implicitly, says the lawyer, right? And you're like yes, you know. So you're sorta pushed in a corner with your answer, leaves you only two options, yes or no. Whereas open-ended questions are gonna be a little more seeking what your actual experience was, it's gonna be, tell me about the time that you went to xyz place, right, I wanna hear about it. So some of these questions start with words, so how, how I think is a great way to start. So how, how was that experience? Or, how do you like your steak cooked? Right, what do you mean by xyz. So how is a good one, I love tell me. Tell me about it, tell me what you're thinking of. So this happened, but tell me what you were hoping for, tell me what you were thinking. When we're talking about customers trying to gauge their satisfaction, how and tell me are very important. What is a good one, right, identifies what it is that they were seeking, or who, when, or where, they're all specific to events, they take the focus off the person, makes it less personal, more event or action oriented. And then we do wanna be careful of why. Why is not on this list, why tends to put people on the defensive. Well why not? Why didn't you like it? I just didn't like it, right? But if I said, well what were you expecting? How did we miss the mark, right? You're going to invite conversation. Another interesting thing to think of is using could you, could you tell me about, could you tell me what happened when, could you tell me where this happened? Could you empowers people. You're asking if they might share with you, as opposed to tell me, right, tell me's a little more direct. Could you tell me, empowers the person telling, so it's a way to build a little bit of trust and to buffer the situation. When you're trying to find out why someone's unhappy or why they're unsatisfied, we need to come in with arms open. So we need to think about open-ended questions.

Class Description

Why is good customer service such a challenge for so many businesses? Because customers (i.e., humans) can be unpredictable, demanding and sometimes argumentative. Even if you have an exhaustive plan in place, your customers are guaranteed to throw you a curve ball. That means you’ll have to be ready to hit it out of the park.

When faced with an unhappy—even angry—customer, business people can get flustered. Even the best of us sometimes lose our cool and respond with frustration or rudeness. This course aims to prepare you for the most difficult situations, so you can uphold your commitment to customer satisfaction and turn even the most troublesome customer into a fan.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid the common pitfalls of customer service.
  • Address the most common situations you’re likely to confront.
  • Present your brand and your business as courteous, classy and caring at all times.
  • Turn an unhappy customer into a happy camper.
  • Find solutions to problems that work for your customers and your business.
  • Keep your calm even in the most heated circumstances.
  • Know the difference between satisfaction and perfection.
  • Come up with thoughtful language to use for different types of customers and circumstances.
  • Gain confidence in addressing uncomfortable situations.