This week, I’m getting a little off the “tech” subject about ways new technologies can make you more findable and attract more customers.  Instead today, I thought I’d lay some thoughts on customer experience. Hopefully this makes sense, and you can use it to your advantage when dealing with patrons.


Because, as the image above tells us: For every 1 complaint, there are 26 unhappy customers!


Things we all know about customer service put in to scientific terms

So anyway, I have this friend at the UMN studying phychology who forwarded me some research. He thought it would help me when dealing with clients for ThriftyHipster, and I thought it was so interesting and insightful I’d share it with you.  READ FULL RESEARCH AND ABSTRACT.


THE GIST = As humans, we really hate unexpected outcomes… So much so that “Poor Experiences” when are expected are better than “mediocre experiences” when the customer is expecting something better.


The unexpected made me a huge fan!

I experienced this 1st hand at this new restaurant (to me) we were trying out the other day.  It looked pretty nice on the outside, but when we got in, it was like walking in to a 1970’s home of my grandmother.  It was also in a small town, so I wasn’t expecting the foodie experience I’ve come to enjoy living in the Twin Cities!


Anyway, when the food came out it was this amazingly huge and delicious steak, and for the $13 price tag I was blown away. A top cut perfectly cooked and I couldn’t even finish it.  It was so much more than expected and so I gave them a good review online and am looking forward to going back next time in the area (and self-recommended to several people on the trip).


Not getting what I expected turned me off

Contrast that with a bar I went to Tap Room the other night.pint glass sizes

On the board, the sign said, “$5 Pints,” however, when I got my beer, it was clearly a 14oz (or less) glass.  What upset me WASN’T the fact that their beer wasn’t good (I liked it) or that it was a “$5 beer”, what upset me was that it was a “$5 PINT.”  They screwed me out of 2oz+ of beer.  Not a big deal, but like the research says, as humans, we’re built that way.


Contrast that with Dangerous Man Brewing.  They have a 20oz glass, with a line marking the 16oz mark, which they commonly pass. Even for the $6 beer, I’m happy to pay, because I’m getting more (or at least as expected) what I think I’m going to get.


The other day my friends went out to a late night happy hour and texted me. was “off” in its happy hour listing for the bar, listing a start time of “9pm” when the actual was 10pm.

I questioned them about it (and of course, made the update), but in the end, they were upset with the BAR, and not so much us… they could have gone elsewhere if they wanted to, but, THEY WENT FOR THE SPECIALS ADVERTISED. They paid more than expected, and won’t go back.


Quick Plug:

1) Check to make sure your listing is correct.

2) If not, you can click the “wrong specials” link at the bottom of the happy hour container and correct them!


How does ThriftyHipster Employ these same principles?

I think the answer is: We Don’t. However, we WILL!


For me at ThriftyHipster, the research is a real eye-opener, and kind of explained some things for me.  Are we setting the right expectations for clients or are we even really controlling it at all?


The other day, we lost a great client who wanted to spend money elsewhere, “We are just putting our money in to Google and Facebook ads”.  Needless to say, as the owner of a small business, this was sad to hear. Not only do I feel our product is superior, and more targeted, but it costs less, has free add-ons, etc.


They were even kind enough to explain the costs, perspective, etc. associated with new strategies… Which only reinforced my belief in ThriftyHipster’s superiority even more, but the point is: THEY DIDN’T GET WHAT THEY EXPECTED WITH US, BUT WERE GETTING IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.


But after reading this article, I think it makes a lot of sense.  Maybe we’ve failed in really explaining our service, and created expectations that we have not met.

ThriftyHipster sits in this “middle ground” where we compete with other online listings, but operate in a more traditional “print media” sense.


We’ve lost clients because they expected us to spend more personal attention to them (like their print ad reps)… We explained, “We’re a 1/10 the cost, so we can’t spend that time and make money”


Maybe just the fact that we are LOCAL advertisers, means that we compete with the personal attention City Pages provides to it’s clients (for a much higher cost).  Maybe its the fact that we compete with online resources that are funded by huge equity firms that make customers want to pay less?


The bottom line is, this research has really changed our perspective and thought process behind how we sell, manage, and deliver to clients.


Well, I could say a lot more, but I’ll save it for future writings.  Hopefully this helps you consider and put thought behind policies and how to over deliver cost-effectively to patrons.


Please add comments below or email me with any feedback!



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