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The world champions of managed dissatisfaction

During our latest family vacation we stayed at what must be the world champions of managed dissatisfaction.

The resort managed to do slightly less than you’d expect at every single interaction and they made sure to never even accidentally exceed our expectations.

To be sure, it wasn’t a bad experience per se … which, to me, is the fascinating aspect here and what makes managed dissatisfaction an art. The art is in finding the sweet spot where your service is well below the threshold for embarrassment at all times, yet only the slightest bit above the threshold of dissatisfaction.

Of course, that’s not the same thing as a great experience – or even a satisfactory one. It’s no substitute for the smile they could have put on their customers’ faces for exceeding their expectations just once.

And that’s a choice. That idea of consistently delivering just enough to avoid outright dissatisfaction, but never quite enough to truly impress, is a deliberate strategy. The goal is to maintain a steady stream of “just okay” service without investing in the extra effort or resources that could lead to exceptional experiences.

We might not come back, though.

Delighting customers, even just occasionally, can have a significant positive impact on their perception of the service and can foster loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

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