When I caught this headline, “Banned for Bad Tipping” on CNN.com today, I just had to check it out since we do so much work for restaurants and the hospitality industry.

View the story here:

I’m not sure who is right here, but my gut says the customer.

Even if the owner is correct when he says that his customer is not a good tipper, she still paid her bill for the basic food and service she received.

Now, I consider myself a pretty good tipper, but more and more I’ve been working to get back to tipping based on the quality of service I receive. There are far too many people and businesses in my life (and I’m sure yours too) where they feel entitled to a reward for doing basic or even sub par work.

It’s got to stop.

I’m not sure where or when this entitlement gig got started, but my guess is that it started sometime about 35 years ago in kids sports – especially baseball – where “Tee-ballers” started to hit baseballs off of tees (instead of having the ball pitched to them) and everyone started to get trophies regardless of where their team finished.

Oh yeah, I’m blaming it all on Tee-ball!

In the hospitality business, you’re supposed to be “hospitable” it’s the basic greens fee part of the gig. Tipping is supposed to be based on what someone does over and above the call of duty.

I mean my hot food should be hot and my cold food should be cold. Servers are supposed to deliver my food to me in a reasonable time with no foreign objects in, on or around it right? I’m supposed to tip you for that? C’mon people.

I checked out Magellan’s Worldwide Tipping Guide to see where we American’s rank and right there, I  confirmed my suspicion that we American’s are one crazy bunch of people. We tip more than just about every country in the world, and I’ll bet you agree that for the most part your customer satisfaction level with the majority of business and people is average to below average!

The interesting thing about my argument is that the majority of customer satisfaction scores in industries have statistically improved (see American Customer Satisfaction Index here).

Yeah, but my gut and head says that what people say and what people actually do and feel aren’t always coordinated. I believe most people have internalized their customer satisfaction expectations (read – lowered their bar) because for the most part, they’ve been let down so many times that they simply learn to accept and deal with sub par performance.

Here are a few of “Marketing Tips” for you today to help your Brand excel.

  1. Get away from assumptions and entitlements – cast them aside
  2. List your Brand’s basic greens fees of performance
  3. From that list, work up a few cool ideas to “surprise, delight and impress (read – WOW)” your customers> Make sure these ideas are ones that your core customer base considers valuable and are not offered by your competitors.
  4. Implement these new cool ideas.

Now – watch your tip jar explode!

P.S.: Years ago in a performance review session, one of my team members thought she should get a bonus (read tip) because, “I always come to work on time.” She was wrong to assume, but I was more wrong because I wasn’t clear in my expectations of performance training.  I never made that mistake again.  Big lesson.