I know this may sound really silly or petty, but I was recently in a restaurant and asked my server to bring me an iced tea with no lemon. A few minutes later, she returned with my iced tea and, sure enough, there was a wedge of lemon floating on the top of it.
For a moment, I replayed the conversation I just had with my server – less than five minutes ago – to determine if I had omitted the fact that I did not want a slice of lemon in my iced tea. The simple realization I made was that either the server failed to communicate my request to omit the lemon from my iced tea when she placed my order, or she failed to recognize that the preparer added the lemon despite both of our requests. Needless to say, the server was wrong because she was unaware of the error, not to mention that she may have even ignored it herself if she was the one who prepared it.
A couple of days later, I was sitting in the airport in LA and I stopped in one of those airport restaurant/pubs. I decided to order a cheeseburger with bacon and no cheese, which was a custom order because only cheeseburgers appeared on their menu. When the server finally brought over my food, there was no bacon as I had requested! Again, was this a failure on the server’s part to request the bacon burger I wanted, or was it her failure to notice that the order she picked up from the kitchen was not prepared as I requested?
These two isolated incidents had really brought the issue of awareness to my attention. In both instances, the servers clearly were not aware that they did not provide me with the orders I had requested. So this brought me to an even bigger realization: can an iced tea really impact your overall success?
If you have ever considered starting your own business or running a major corporation, your long-term success will not only depend on your creativity and advertising, but also on your keen awareness and attention to the details. Your clients’ needs and expectations are paramount to not only your business success but to their ultimate customer satisfaction. Your mastery of the details will not only be crucial in obtaining and retaining a client’s trust, but your ability to be aware and cognizant of their needs will differentiate you from your competition.
“This is what customers pay us for – to sweat all these details so it’s easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We’re supposed to be really good at this. That doesn’t mean we don’t listen to customers, but it’s hard for them to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.” – Steve Jobs, CEO Apple Corp, Inc.
So the next time you are in a position to assist someone, regardless of the task at hand, take that extra moment to really listen to what they are asking of you. Equally important, evaluate whether or not you have successfully provided them with their desired outcome. Not only will your efforts potentially sweeten a well-deserved tip, it could be the very thing that ultimately differentiates you from so many unaware individuals that will never ‘get it’ nor really understand why they are unable to achieve the success they desire.
You know, all this writing has made me a little thirsty. I would love an iced tea with no lemon, please.