The Waiting is the Hardest Part (for your customers)

Micah Solomon Keynote speech (video)

Timeliness is a critical part of creating a successful customer experience.  As a business keynote speaker, I’m often heard calling on company and conference audiences to remember the key principle of timeliness:

A perfect product, delivered late, is a defective product.

But what does “late” mean?  To throw a few ugly words at it, what I’m really talking about here when I say “late” is “on a timetable that diverges negatively from what the customer expects.”

So, that brings up the question:  how much time have you spent figuring out what the customer expects?   Here are some of the factors which create their expectations:

–The norms within your industry

–The norms outside your industry (sorry, everyone, but has changed the whole timetable game in a huge way, regardless of the service or product you in particular offer)

–The customer’s experience with your company on prior transactions (all those “good news! we’ve upgraded your shipping to overnight!” notices from Zappos eventually create a new norm for their repeat customers).

–The information you convey to the customer, when you convey it, and how you convey it (did you call her back immediately to let her know there might be a delay?  This in itself can positively affect the customer’s perception of your timeliness–as opposed to waiting 4 days and saying “tah dah, we’re done!”)

–The details of the waiting experience.  To a solitary diner, for example, every wait between courses will seem notably longer than it will to a couple engaged in happy chatter.  So offer reading materials, check in more often, and otherwise mitigate these perceived delays.

Micah Solomon, author of “High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service“, is the customer service strategist and business keynote speaker termed by the Financial Post ”a new guru of customer service excellence.” Solomon is a top keynote speaker, strategist, and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture — and how they fit into today’s marketing and technology landscape. An entrepreneur and business leader, he previously coauthored the bestselling “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit“.


“Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology.” –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder

Micah Solomon • Author-Speaker-Strategist • Customer Service – Marketing – Loyalty – Leadership

High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (cover) -click for free chapter

See Micah in action — including video and free resources — at Or, click here for your own free chapter  of Micah’s new book,  High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (AMACOM Books) and Micah’s #1 bestseller, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization

Micah Solomon Keynote speech (video)


1 thought on “The Waiting is the Hardest Part (for your customers)”

  1. I think the information we convey to the customer is very key in their satisfaction if there is a delay in the actual product or service. Picturing them as a guest in my home helps me to respond with a smile in my voice or email. I find that customers understand the time frame if I explain what I am going to do, and when I am going to do it, and why I am doing it that way. If they object, then I continue to work with them to see if they can offer something I hadn’t thought of. Consistent and frequent communication is key to personalizing the experience for the customer. Then deliver, deliver, deliver!

    One online practice I would like to see changed is the customer satisfaction survey that comes up on some sites before I even have a chance to read the Home Page. It puts the “get” before the “give” from the company and turns me off. I like the survey to come once I’ve actually received the service or made the transaction. Anyone else feel that way?

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