Product lesson from a waiter

Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

I remember this day from one of the trips I made in 2021.

I had a busy day, a lot of moving things. I wanted my evening to be relaxing. The restaurant serves dinner for 2 hours only. And there was one hour left when I reached the restaurant. Enough time to have a relaxed dinner. For a change, the theme of the restaurant was Mexican. I was so happy that I will not get just boiled food today. I investigated the offerings (since it's a self-serving place) and prepared for the lap one of food race. I filled my plate with everything that looked spicy, fish, chicken, even lamb. I settled down and started eating them while talking about our day. We were collecting the moments and categorizing them into appropriate emotional buckets for future use. It felt like clock was on steroids. The restaurant was about to close in the next 10 minutes. And I was still on lap 2 while desserts were waiting on lap 3.

Nachos Workafe
Photo by Coffeefy Workafe / Unsplash

I have been to such situation before, and I was expecting the same. The waiter will come down to our table and tell us that the restaurant is about to close in 10  minutes, and we should pick the things we want from counters.

But the response from the waiter was not at all same. The waiter was in context of the situation, he knew what is our state of mind. The traditional approach is to break the flow (disturb us) and make the announcement and force us to stand up and pick the food. But he said "we will close down the restaurant in next 10 minutes, I see you are having great time and I do not wish to disturb you. So would you like to have anything from counter? I will bring it here for you".

And if I boil it down, the fundamental guiding force was the same. This means if you can trace it back to the bottom, these principles become domain free, they can be applied to any field. As a simple equation of Newton can describe falling down of apple to the dancing of planets.

The final message was the same in both cases. But when you add context to the situation, you start speaking the language of your client (me in this case) and generate empathy. He could have gone via the traditional method, but that will not create the experience, and I would not be writing about this here. From a business angle, it's peanuts for marketing of such a kind.

So next time you launch a new feature, fix an issue, or any touchpoint with the client. Make sure you get into the context first. Don't just say we have added the feature you asked. Speak their language. Developers are in the hospitality business. Let those guests (clients) staying in your products tell their friends as how awesome your services are.

Anmol Saini

Anmol Saini