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Delight your customers with the unexpected

When visiting a restaurant, I have expectations about my dining experience. I expect the food to be good, the service to be friendly, and the atmosphere to be comfortable. When these expectations are met, I’m satisfied. When they are exceeded with exceptional food or fast service, I’m happy.

Happy and satisfied are arguably good ways to make your customers feel, but is it the best you can do? I

’m happy and satisfied in the scenario above because the restaurant acknowledged expectations I already had and improved upon them.

What if you can introduce something unexpected to enhance the customer experience? A recent dinner outing with my family to celebrate my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary proved to be one such experience.

When we got to the table, the menu had, “Happy Anniversary Terri and Brian!!!” in all caps printed at the top, and a rose on the table. My mother-in-law called in the reservation and mentioned we would be celebrating an anniversary. The staff at the restaurant printed menus for the occasion, and put them on our table. They didn’t mention the possibility of customization in advance or ask if we wanted them. They just did it.

A custom menu is not something any of us expected. We honestly didn’t even know it was an option, but the unexpected, thoughtful gesture enhanced our experience by making it more personal. I’ve since told many friends and family about the menu, and they are eager to visit the restaurant on their anniversaries.

The personalized menu did more than create a satisfying experience. It made me an evangelist for the restaurant. Surely, this applies to more than just the restaurant industry.

How can you use the unexpected to delight your customers and get them to talk about your business?

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