It’s interesting isn’t it how easy it is to create expectations. Whether good, bad or indifferent we’re creating expectations all the time. In our work, in our homes, with our co-workers, with our family expectations abound.
Think about every place you create expectations for your customers. Now think again. Does your tag line create expectations? Does your name? Does the graphical approach to your web site create a certain set of expected deliverables? The answer is yes, whether you realize it or not.
- The truth is that customer expectations are being set, met or missed, and reset all the time. We’re constantly raising or lowering the bar. This up and down motion isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, if the bar stays put we’re invisible. So how do we take care to accurately set the expectations of people whom we’ve not yet met? By remembering to apply some simple guidelines:
1. Entice but don’t Exaggerate
So often titles and tagline are built purely to entice customers to come take a look behind the curtain and too often the”surprise” behind the curtain is an epic failure.
A friend on Facebook recently had a video posted in their status entitle something akin too: “Failed Surprise Attack”. I click off to video land to watch the supposedly failed sneak attack only to find nothing sneaky OR attacky about it. Multiple multiple people had commented that there was nothing worth watching in the video, it turned out to be a couple body builders flexing in the mirror.
I was so frustrated by the stupidity of it that I now am questioning whether I’ll look at anything that friend has in their status line ever again and I even went so far as to delete the view from my own status in hopes the same judgment would not be cast upon me.
The failed expectation resulted in negative results because the enticement turned out to be a gross exaggeration.
2. Remember the Reset
Don’t forget that every time you meet, exceed, or fail to meet expectations you’re resetting the bar. Meeting expectations raises confidence levels in further ability to meet them, exceeding expectations sets a higher standard, failing to meet them my result in a loss of opportunity to have another shot.
I recently had what I thought was a horrid rental experience with Thrifty Car Rental. My expectation was a fee of about $42.50 through priceline. My bill upon checking out the car showed charges closer to $150. I figured they had switched cars on me, pre-charged for gas, not3. O honored my agreed price and several other nasties but just left because I was in a hurry. I vowed they’d never agin get my business.
When I returned the car the guy at the check-in window explained all the rigamarole to me and showed how my final bill went back down to $42.50, exceeding my lowered expectations and perhaps winning back at least a chance to get back my business.
3. Oopsies are Opportunities
We’ll all fail to meet expectations from time to time. Rather than seeing this as a failure see it as an opportunity to become something more than invisible.
I posted recently about a customer service experience with Mike’s Camera. Lo and behold who should reach out to me but Mike. Now, to be clear, I wrote that they had failed at meeting my expectations but had done just enough to make it up to not lose me as a customer.
Mike wasn’t satisfied with just enough though. Mike reached out and offered to make it MORE right on my next rental. An offer which I will no doubt take him up on the next time I need to rent a lens. Mike get’s it. He saw the oops as an opportunity.
In every case communication is the key but remembering these guidelines can help you set and manage expectations in a more reasonable and controllable fashion resulting in winning, and keeping, more customers.
What expectations do you think you set with customers or business associates?