Sometimes you can find an inspiring graphic on Instagram. One that recently caught my eye was a photo of a young girl in tears. The line at the top of the photo said: “He asked this girl: ‘Are you Hindu, Christian, or Muslim?’” She answered: “I am hungry.”

It made me think about the many times we completely miss the mark when serving customers. We fail to be attentive to what matters most to them, desiring instead to serve them what we want them to want. We try to force fit our systems and processes grounded in convenience to us even though it creates dissonance and angst for the customer. We make it hard for them to give us their money. We have too many Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces type of encounters.

I pulled into the drive-in of a fast food restaurant that specializes in fried chicken. I know their menu by heart. I ordered four thighs, two breasts, two wings, and no biscuits. “Our eight-piece box of assorted pieces will be cheaper for you,” he told me. I replied, “Thanks for trying to save me money, but what I ordered is what I would like.” He was not giving up. “For the price of eight a la carte pieces, I can give you a twelve-piece box of assorted pieces.” I continued, “But I don’t want that much chicken, I just want what I ordered, please.” He seemed frustrated I was not biting on any of his offers. “And no biscuits?” he asked. “But you are paying for the two biscuits anyway.” In frustration, I sarcastically replied, “You can have my biscuits. Just please give me what I ordered.”

As I finally pulled away, a bit exhausted from the fight, I noticed two of their direct competitors within just a few blocks. It made wonder if they would argue with me over my attempts to get what I wanted. Would they pick up on my desire to get what I ordered without concern for the extra cost? Are your processes and systems crafted to make it super easy for customers or are they designed primarily for your convenience and benefit?