What happens when you exceed expectations

Of all the lectures I have the opportunity to present, one I tremendously enjoy giving is when I get to talk about the importance of exceeding expectations. It’s really fun and easy to discuss bands who either fall below, meet, or beat customers’ expectations, and the consequences that occur.

Put simply: failing to meet expectations leads to bad word of mouth; meeting expectations leads to nothing; exceeding leads to loyalty and good word of mouth. The punch line, such as it is, is that meeting expectations is not enough because nothing happens.

This expectation thang played itself out in our house recently. We needed a toaster…badly. For some reason, toasters have always sort of been a problem for me. I hate toaster ovens (they’re just so 80s), and the random Sunbeam-esque toaster you get for $12 at the hardware store offends me from aesthetic and functionality perspectives. So, much to my wife, Marci’s, frustration, we just went without – toasting via broiling in the oven (yes, many smoke alarms went off) – for a long time.

Finally, Marci (rightly) would have no more of this, and I knew the game was afoot. Somehow, I stumbled upon the Breville Toaster.

One would think that there is not much room for improvement/innovation in a toaster. One would be wrong. Every piece of functionality on this booger has been thought out: The slider for degree of toastiness is a pleasing blue LED; When you put the toast in the slots you don’t push down to engage, but instead press the glowing toast button, and – as my daughter, Annabelle, says, “like an elevator” – the toast is gently loaded; There is a “Look and See” button that elevates the toast so you can check if it’s done (Annabelle loves this); Should your toast be not quite done, there is an “A bit more” button to…well, you get it.

It’s not just the functionality. The aesthetics are amazing: Real stainless steel, aforementioned glowing LED lights, and even a plug with a convenient loop so you can easily unplug.

See what I mean. I’m rhapsodizing about a toaster….a toaster.

This is what happens when expectations are exceeded; you want to tell people. Of course, you also want to have your expectations exceeded again. To wit, I’m now investigating all the other Breville products. Got my eye on the juicer, single shot coffee maker, and many others.

A last point. This toaster ain’t cheap. That said, the price is now a distant afterthought replaced by the pleasure of the machine. This is important to remember. When expectations are wildly exceeded, the product will enjoy a very inelastic demand.

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  1. Brian Gallino’s avatar

    I never knew exceeding expectations could get someone to even evangelize about a toaster, but it seems justice was served. Anyway, I really see how exceeding expectations gets people more involved and caring about your service. Take Radiohead for example, following the innovative album release, they become part of my New Years celebration by releasing videos of them in studio playing the entire album. They follow this up with the Nude Remix contest, next was the social network where active fans can share pictures and videos of the tour so far. Of course, they blow you away live. Its always impressed me the way Radiohead delivers some many other things to the fans other than their albums.

    New Years Videos: http://youtube.com/profile?user=radiohead


  2. Trachelle Henneman’s avatar

    I’ll admit to staying up until 3am watching informercials, but I deny being gullable enough to actually make any purposes. Well that was before I saw the Shamwow commercial. It’s a towel that seems capable of soaking up the entire Atlantic if you gave it a try.
    One sleepless night I purchased the Shamwow and was shocked at just how well it works. I used it on my car today actually and never once had to wring it out. It washed really well also. It didn’t hold any stains or shrink in the dryer. It does what it should and is far more durable than I could have imagined.


  3. Elisa Escoto’s avatar

    A product that sincerely exceeded my expectations is “GET SMART” the movie. I mean wow. Simply WOW! >_<! I really did not mean like it that much. I went in, because my friends gave me no choice, intending to be bored to tears for about two hours. I laughed so hard I bruised my sternum.

    Steve Carell was so hilarious as a fumbling, adorable, accident-prone analyst for a super elite spy division. He was not only lovable, but had perfect comedic timing! The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) was the perfect agent: Athletic, deadly, and suave. Aah, so beautiful. And Anne Hathaway was pretty darn cute and lethal her self. Also, just that flexible…like man could she avoid laser beams or what. Carell’s nerdy analyst friends and the two bumpkin agents that pick on him also add some very funny aspects to the film.

    The humor was both physical and verbal, and the action was believable. That’ s what I liked most about the move. They didn’t let the drama between the characters take over the film. No, it was nicely mixed in with the action and techno gizmos to make you meet the characters, fall in love the characters, and pray for their success.

    I’d give you a summary but then I’d be taking way more space than allowed…so follow the links and fall in love.



  4. Ana Ochoa’s avatar

    I recently went on a road trip and ended up in New Jersey visitng a friend from school. In New Orleans she was always putting down the Circle K, convenience store open late uptown. She was always disappointed whenever we ended up there, and kept saying it was no Wawa. I had no idea how she felt until I got to New Jersey. In the 2 days I was there, she and I went to Wawa 3 times. I fell in love.

    She has good reason to be sad every time she goes to Circle K. Wawa has everything. I literally mean EVERYTHING. At any hour of the day. Made to order sandwiches, fruit, salads, soup, breakfast sandwiches. Everything. Not to mention the regular convenience store selections and no ATM fees.

    The fact that they’re only mainly in the mid-Atlantic region makes me sad.


  5. George Gekas’s avatar

    As in every American Household, there are a few staples that every child grows up with. Macaroni and Cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Oreo’s to name a few. That being said we all know that nothing goes better with Oreo’s than a tall, cold glass of milk. I have been an advocate of milk ever since my first glass but never did I see myself enjoying Soy Milk. Soy Milk completely exceeded my expectations. I will admit I was very reluctant to try it at first but after some convincing from my girlfriend I gave in and have made the switch. Soy milk provides all the nutrients and vitamins as regular milk but it has almost no fat and no cholesterol. Soy milk is also alot lighter to its cow-based counterpart. If you told me a few months ago that I would be an avid soy milk drinker I would tell you that you were crazy, but like I said before I made the switch and haven’t looked back since.


  6. Kate Rafferty’s avatar

    I have to say your toaster inspired me to write about mine! I have a toaster that was a present from my mother because she loved hers so much. Apparently we are in a time of great toaster innovation! My toaster not only makes toast (which you can specify to be bagel, waffle, english muffin, etc.) but it also makes eggs, and bacon. It times these so that they are done at the same time. When They are all done all i have to do is combine them and I have a delicious egg “mcmuffin”. I have to say the best part is how easy it is to clean. All of the trays lift out and are dishwasher safe.



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