When shoppers or businesses interact with a company, they look for service. Setting basic expectations throughout your company will help to establish a system of responses, procedures and protocol for handling similar situations, and will result in an overall better experience for both sides of the relationship.
Expectations aren’t mean to be met – they’re meant to be exceeded. While consistency is important throughout a company, especially if there are multiple branches/locations, customers want to deal with a service that “wows” them. It’s the chocolate on the edge of the bed – the free drink when it wasn’t expected. It’s the extra courtesy, commitment or empathy that a customer doesn’t expect that makes him or her stop and think about the quality of his or her service.
In order to exceed customer expectations, it’s also important not to over-promise. If you can’t deliver until two weeks out, don’t promise shipment by the end of the week. Most times the customer would rather have the honest answer that comes true than the false answer that disappoints. In this case, if the shipment only takes one week, then the customer is even more delighted with the seemingly sped-up delivery process.
Perhaps the best way to meet customer expectations is to clearly explain what is being offered. One example of this is a 3-tier program. The customer can clearly see that Option A includes more than Option B, which includes more than Option C. In this system, the customer equates each option with a value and determines which option is best for his or her needs and budget.
In the worst case, when customer expectations are not met, all is not lost! These are opportunities to win the customer’s trust back by providing excellent care, refunds or exchanges. This situation can also help to provide insight as to what the customer had expected vs. what actually happened, allowing for improvement if needed.