Setting tasty expectations

Is it scripting — or coincidence?

I was at two Whole Foods Markets in the past week — in Hingham, Mass., and Cranston, R.I. — and had two similar, friendly exchanges with the check out clerks.

As the clerk scanned a particular item, he (men in both cases) asked me a casual question. It went something like this:

Clerk: "Have you tried that before?"

Me: "No, first time."

Clerk (enthusiastically, but very genuine): "It's amazing. You're going to love it. And it's so tasty, especially for being something so quick and easy to make."

Me (now eagerly awaiting to try it): "Sounds great!"

That was it. Some seemingly benign banter. But it was all about setting my expectations.

Health care struggles with setting expectations and it is reflected in patient satisfaction scores. An easy fix — and one that every patient and their family would welcome — is a little more frequent communication from caregivers, especially setting expectations for what is about to occur.

And when you don't set expectations, you don't have an opportunity to exceed them! 

So whether by scripting or coincidence — or better yet, culture — these two Whole Foods employees exceeded my shopping expectations.