New Customer Experience Insights: Go dining!

20 November 2014

The experience of two restaurant visits from last month stuck with me. In the first one jackhammers were constantly interrupting our conversation because they were rebuilding the place. In the second one, I was sitting on a terrace, in a beautiful late-summer sun. One of those restaurants however will never see me again. Guess which one?


Terrace in the sun

Let’s start with the terrace in the sun, which seems nice at first sight. But, when we arrived, the waiter needed about 15 minutes to notice us for the first time. On top of that, our table was still full of clutter from our previous table occupants. After waiting for one hour we got our meal, which was served cold and in very tiny portions. We asked for a little salt and pepper (that wasn’t on the table), it hasn’t arrived until this date. Still hungry after our dinner, and having to do some acrobatic poses to gain the attention of our waiter again, we finally got our expensive bill. Mind you, the table still wasn’t cleaned by this time. There was no card terminal, we had to gather all our cash to pay for this lousy meal…


When passing the restaurant, you see a ginormous banner outside telling us: “Even during construction works, our people are doing everything possible to serve you a wonderful meal”. My first reaction: “That's something I want to see for myself!” At the entrance, the friendly waiter is greeting us, and assigning us a spot, as far away from the drilling noise as possible. He offers us a beautiful menu, knows exactly when we are ready to order, and suggests us to take a menu which would be cheaper and includes a ‘delicious’ dessert. We get a drink on the house for the inconvenience of the construction works. Within 15 minutes we receive two delicious plates full of jummies for our tummies. During the meal, the waiter drops by several times to ask if everything is okay. We have to ask a few times what he said because of the drilling in the background, but we order another couple of drinks. After the meal we ask for the bill, and can pay with the new ‘Bancontact’-app using the QR-code on the bill. We even receive a nice customer loyalty card, with an invitation for the grand opening when the construction is done.

Customer Experience Analysis

When we look at this through our customer experience goggles, we can have a look at the Customer Experience Pyramid:

customer experience pyramid Source: Outside In, The Power of putting customers at the center of your business, ISBN 987-0-547-91398-8

When we put this into practice at our two restaurant visits, we get:

Terrace in the sun Jackhammers
Meets Needs Yes, we got food, but it was in small portions. I was still hungry. Completely satisfied!
CXi Very Poor Excellent
Easy Waiting for one hour can’t be seen as ‘easy’, I’m afraid… 15 minutes tops for a hot plate & paying online, awesomesauce!
CXi Very Poor, again… Excellent, again!
Enjoyable The food was cold, the table was dirty, we never got the salt nor the pepper, an expensive bill. What do you think? Free drinks, tasty food, jackhammers, more jackhammers, loyalty card, invitation, …
CXi Indeed, Very Poor Excellent, we have a winner!


  • It is not because you are in a difficult situation that you aren’t able to offer your customers a wonderful experience
  • It is not because you are in a luxury situation that you don’t have to pay attention to your customer's experience
  • The customer experience pyramid is something to print out right now, and hang it above your bed so that you can see it every time you wake up and go to sleep, thinking “How can I make my customer happy today?

What is your experience?

Have you experienced something similar? At home, or at work? We are eager to know your experiences and how we can improve them, together! And of course, it’s a good excuse to go dining together…

Tom Devos

Written by Tom Devos

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