Archives for posts with tag: Expectation

I’ve had it with avocados. I’m done with them.

Yes, I know they’re good for me. They’re rich in those omega-thingies and they taste nice too. You just never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they’re too hard, like cheese, but you’ve opened them now, so you have to eat them. You can leave the other half in the fridge, even with the stone still it, and they take about 5 mins to go off.

Sometimes they’re too soft, and have gone mostly black and bruised, not appealing to look at or taste, so they’re wasted. Even with the health benefits they’re a bit of a lottery.

And then there’s the process of how they’re made, and the vast distances they need to come to service the needs of a consumer in the north west of Europe. Take a look at this video (it’s 12 minutes long, but worth a quick look). An awful lot of the environment goes into creating one of those capricious little suckers, and the ramifications are pretty far-reaching, as you’ll see.

No, much as I like them, I think I’m done with avocados.

Time, as I’m fond of boring you over the last nearly 5 years, is a most precious resource. Which is why we should, in my opinion, be really good at managing it. Yet we’re not, really, compared to other precious resources like money, water, temperature, sales, sales pipeline, marketing leads, fuel and so on, which we’re really good at measuring.

That’s because most have a monetary value easily attached to them. Time does as well, or should, but tends not to, unless you charge by the hour.

Some Irish folk have a fairly relaxed approach to measuring time, or at least estimating its duration. That’s why in our house we have a joke about Irish minutes and English minutes. I’m English and when I say I’ll be about 5 minutes, I’ll be about 5 minutes. When her ladyship and others say they’ll ‘just be 2 minutes’, or ‘I’ll be back in 15 minutes’, I ask if that’s Irish minutes or English minutes.

Then I know what’s going on. It’s like saying you’ll ‘just be 2 ticks‘. How you can ever be close to 2 seconds? Drives me mad.

Things in business or life rarely turn out exactly as you thought they would. They’re rarely what you expect.

The other day I was working on a customer project that relied on two third party companies for help. My experiences of dealing with the two companies, and the opinions I formed about them, led me to the following conclusion. One company – let’s call it company A – was going to help me out and it was going to be a fruitful exercise. The other – which you’ve probably guessed is company B – probably wasn’t going to oblige too much.

As it turned out I was completely, 180 degrees, wrong. A didn’t go anywhere and B was superb.

It reminded me that even though you can go into things with a positive frame of mind, hoping that all engagements will work out for you, you can often get your assumptions wrong. While it’s great to act on a hunch in the absence of anything solid to go on, we have to check our facts where possible, speak to people and see things through. I’m sure there have been many times when I’ve said to myself, ‘why didn’t I get to this before, why didn’t I speak to them sooner?’ Is that true for you too? If so, it’s probably because things are rarely what you expect.

I had occasion, dear reader, to go to France and Italy a few weekends ago. It was a bit of a road trip – with some planes and trains thrown in for good measure – and one of the earlier legs was the Eurotunnel from Folkstone to Calais. I’ve been on the Eurostar from London to Paris, but never the car-train thingy.

I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t booked the tickets as it was a surprise held in my dubious honour, so I hadn’t gone onto the website to see what it was all about. I was going in cold, which is always interesting from a marketeer’s perspective. It is always incredibly valuable to experience the customer journey through your product or service for the first time, because once you’ve got your feet under the table and you know where to look, what to do and what to expect, you can’t help first-time visitors navigate big idea any more.

I was expecting something like a cross between the car ferry and the Eurostar. Drive on, dump the car, chill for a couple hours, drive off. So, imagine my surprise when we drove onto a ‘carriage’ that houses about 3 or 4 cars and sat there. You can either sit in your car and feel mildly seasick as the train speeds through the tunnel, or you can get out of your car and walk up and down the side. There’s an emergency loo, but no cafeteria, no entertainment, no view, nothing.

I examined the inside of the carriage. There were lots of emergency notices and information about what you can’t do. What I didn’t know was that the journey is only 35 minutes long and there’s not much you can do.

One thing that struck me was that there was nothing to manage expectations for the first time traveller. You have to find stuff out for yourself, when it’s too late.

How hard would it be to produce a 3-minute video that runs in the terminal and the carriages to give you more information on the customer experience? It would put you at ease, enhance the experience and make you spend more money in the terminal, knowing that you would be without food and drink for the best part of an hour.

I’m not saying Le Shuttle is Le Shittle, far from it. It’s a massive investment and a huge time and money saver. It’s no nonsense, not quite ‘quick and dirty’ but certainly at the functional end of travel. What I am saying is that they need to work on the customer experience. And, when they do, everybody wins.