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There are these two small restaurants close to one another which I visit quite regularly to get a bite.

For the sake of this article I will name the first place Place A and the second one Place B.

Place A is a fast-food joint. The other one just barely crosses above the fast-food status.

Both of them offer meats, salads, breads, you name it... the works. I usually switch between the two just so I don't get bored from either one of them.

Place A

Place A, has bunch of guys working there. They hardly ever smile. They don't try to engage you in any way. They take your order. You take the number. And you wait (not long).

Place B

Place B is a bit different. You sit down. The waiter comes along and gives you the menu. You look at some pretty plates laid out on a semi-nicely designed over-sized flyer. He takes your order. And you wait (a bit longer).

Not a whole lot different from Place A, besides the waiters, no?

The difference

Now the difference between the two.

Place A has almost always the same guy at the counter. He barely ever says a word. He takes your order and that's it.

Place B has waiters who are always smiling. They try to chitchat. They always change. Sometimes they come at the table to take your order. Sometimes they take a minute or so. Other times they're talking on the phone as they walk from table to table. The other day my chicken was rare. Now I like my burgers rare, but if you've ever eaten a half cooked chicken, you know what I'm talking about. They never forget to smile, even when your chicken tastes like rubber.

Place A serves exactly what you asked for. In the same exact way (quality) as the last time. They are fast!

Place B is much nicer. I'm sure they've hired an interior designer to play with colors that tingle your cravings. It's true. Their colors and furniture are super inviting (the first time that is).

Place A has no surprises. They have invested in quality, punctuality, and giving the customer exactly what they came for.

Place B has invested more energy on the superficial, rather than the substantial.

Would Place A be even nicer if its interior was well designed and servers smiled more? Who knows? Maybe. I would guess yes. But, at the end of the day, it's a fast-food restaurant. It should be exactly that. Serving food fast, with no surprises.

Way back

Back in college, I used to work as a barista at a local Starbucks in Upper Montclair, NJ.

There was an Italian deli right across the street. I would get my lunches there.

Now imagine this: This deli was always packed with people trying to get their prosciutto fix. I mean, there was no room to stand in. The two guys running the joint were in their 40s/50s. They spoke no English in an area filled with affluent professionals commuting daily to New York City. They hardly ever broke a smile unless they were telling an inside joke. They were fast. You didn't have to repeat yourself what you needed. They remembered "your usual". You got served quickly. You paid and you came back for more because of their awesome sandwiches with home made mozzarella.

No surprises. Only top-notch quality.

(At Starbucks we did a bit more in trying to involve our customers in the whole Starbucks culture. But, Starbucks had the quality and punctuality covered to the dot.)

An imaginary situation

Imagine this scenario for a minute: you're on the phone with a customer-care rep and you want to get done quickly. You don't want to break the ice and do small talk. You got better things to do during your work hours. Wouldn't you prefer a customer care rep, whose only words were:

—"Hello sir, how can I help you today", in which you reply...

—"I'm having some trouble with my Mac I just bought", and then she says...

—"Let me check that for you"... You hear a semi-long pause, which sort of starts to worry you ...then she adds...

—"I just scheduled a new delivery for you which should be at your door by tomorrow morning via UPS Next Day Air Early A.M.. There was a slight defect with the battery in the series of Macbook Pros you just bought. Also, there will be a self-addressed box with the instructions on how to return the current one. Anything else I can help you out with, sir?"... and then you're left speechless.

Remember, the rep hardly ever smiled or asked how your day was. She was quick and straight to the point.

This is not fiction. It has happened to me with a certain famous online shoe store. Though I'm sure Mac reps are great, too.

Take aways

Going through my everyday motions I usually get inspired by these successful events and unintentionally try to somehow connect the dots with the bigger picture.

With Goodwerp, at times, I've tried to over-please our customers and say things that the customer might have liked to hear. True things, though maybe polished a bit, so they sound better. I see this being done across the board in 90% of customer care services I encounter.

At times, I've caught myself sharing a delivery date about a new feature with a customer, just to end up missing the mark. In Saas your "new" features being delivered on time do not depend on how quick you can code something, but on the overall picture of the product and how it will affect all user across the board.

Going forward I'd like to invest more into having Goodwerp SIMPLE be more punctual and qualitative, above everything else. Before the smiles and the rainbows.



Perfect in its own right.

We can have a fancy website promising miracles, just to lure people in. But, then we would be running the risk of over-promising and under-delivering.

We're not Apple.

Goodwerp is a pixel-perfect simple application which does a few things perfectly well.

Trying to please customers in superficial ways, only goes so far.

Being punctual and delivering quickness is magic.

Customers want quality and punctuality above everything else.

Try to implement the following in your business or your personal brand:

  • Smile if you want, but above all be punctual in your serving
  • Deliver exactly what you've promised. Maybe more, nothing less.
  • Fanatically control quality across the board

When all that is covered, add in a smile or two, it will make things just a tad better.