On a recent trip to Paris, I needed a break from the classic French cuisine. My stomach grumbled as I walked along the Marais, I encountered a line of people standing outside a restaurant. Now, I knew nothing about this place but I put my faith in the wisdom of crowds. It turned out to be an Israeli restaurant that specialized in falafel. Actually, "The World’s Greatest Falafel," according to Lenny Kravitz (as the tattered green sign posted on the wall claimed).
I stood in line for 20 minutes nervous about how to say “hold the onions" in French. As I approached the counter, the man asked what I wanted. “Falafel...,” I managed to stutter, as he lept back from the counter and hurriedly began constructing this massive pita-shaped sandwich. I tried to interject, but between my terrible French and the din of the kitchen, he couldn’t hear me. So I paid him and took my sandwich to a nearby bench.
I have to tell you it could have been the best sandwich, let alone falafel, I’ve ever had. It was the perfect combination of hot and cold, crispy and smooth. The falafel themselves were undersized -- based on my previous experiences -- but they were crispy and flavorful. The raita was cold and sweet. The combination of vegetables could have only been concocted by a madman – or someone cleaning out the fridge. I ate that thing quickly -- and with a giant grin on my face. Plus, although it seemed massive at the time, it didn’t make me feel bloated and no indigestion! #bonus!
So why do you care?
Obviously, that falafel was something special. A well-constructed meal that blew away my expectations of what a falafel, nay a sandwich, should be. In other words, I’m a VERY satisfied customer.
Well, here I am dedicating my time to tell you about it. I’ve already ranted about it to my friends and family. I’m definitely going back to get another one and I’m bringing people with me. If they raise the price or the exchange rate gets worse, I’m still getting one.
The point is that "customer satisfaction" is a real value driver. There’s a ton of research on customer satisfaction, loyalty and financial performance if you don’t believe me. But, like me, you are a consumer and you know it’s true too. When you encounter a quality interaction with an individual, product or company, you notice it. And these days that is so rare that it stands out in your brain – doesn’t it?