John Eklund, Pro Mach

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

By John Eklund, Pro Mach | Permanent Link

I’m not talking about babies here, I’m talking about customers. The easiest way to create happy customers? Do what you say you’re going to do.

There’s a catch though – a lot of us don’t say what we’re going to do. That step – setting the expectation level – is what we’re missing.

Repeat after me: set the expectation early, then deliver on it. You don’t even have to overdeliver, just do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. You’ll find the results are amazing. Astonishing even. You know what’s better than that? Set the expectation quantitatively. Can you respond in 4 hours? Say you’ll respond in 4 hours. This creates an even better experience than saying “We’ll respond ASAP.” It lets the customer know exactly what to expect.

Seth Godin, author of numerous books on marketing, customer service and general business, addressed this in a post called “Spare No Expense” on his web site. He breaks it down this way:

“It’s about balancing between serving a lot of people a little, or dropping everything to serve a few people a lot.”

He goes on to say we can get trapped by the extreme end of that – the “spare no expense” mantra. He does offer a solution though:

“The way around it, I think, is to set expectations early and often. If you’re going to give me your phone number, you better answer it. If you’re going to offer a warranty, you better honor it.”

The key is settings the expectations. Focus on this and you’ll find most of your customer service issues will magically go away. Of course I say that with the implication that you also follow up on it. That’s pretty important too. What you’ll find though is the follow up is that much sweeter for the end customer when the expectation was set versus when it wasn’t. Crazy how that works, but it works.


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