We all have certain expectations. Some involve life in general, while some are specific. For instance, I have an expectation that you will say hello to me if I say hello to you. I also have an expectation of good customer service. Not great customer service…just give me good. I am a realist, I understand limitations as well as expectations. In business as in life, there are no guarantees. Nearly every business owner tries to give good customer service. If they fail, they likely won’t be in business long. On the other hand, give your customers a good or great service, and your business will likely thrive. We have all seen it over and over again. But what happens when you give good customer service but your customer expected more, in some cases MUCH more. It is challenging, but you can manage those outsized customer expectations from the start.
When Customers Expect More
Your business has every desire to give good customer service. It is in your mission statement, heck it’s in EVERY mission statement. It is inevitable that some customers expect far more for their money than what you can give. In that case, even good customer service will fall woefully short. While you think a 10% discount is sufficient, you will inevitably run into the customer who has expectations of a 20% discount, because they have bought from you previously. This situation and others like it can be avoided or at least mitigated if you educate your patrons from the start. Here are three quick tips to help you set proper expectations for your customers.
Managing Expectations in Three Easy Steps
- Under Promise and Over Deliver – You feel like it will take 14 days to complete an order, but you tell the customer you can do it in ten days in hopes of getting the bid. In reality, when the project takes the 14 days you predicted…you are 4 days late and now have an unhappy buyer on your hands.
- Explain Your Process – From the moment you receive the first inquiry for service or sale, begin explaining how your business operates. Point out your positives, while at the same time briefing the customer on any potential drawbacks as well. People can deal better with setbacks when there are few surprises. That is managing expectations.
- Be honest – No one likes to be lied to, even if it is a little white lie. If you can’t meet the customer’s expectations, don’t make the sale. Sure, you can get away with failing your customer once, maybe even twice. But you will lose them in the long run. Don’t forget, people just LOVE to share their negative experiences.
Nearly all of us have heard the old adage “Honesty is the best policy”. Nowhere is that more appropriate than in the business world. If you lie to your customers, they will not be your customer for long. However, if you are upfront and honest, even with issues that could cost you the sale you will at least have the chance to sell to them the next time around.
The Beacon Center Understands
Everyone has certain expectations and we are just like you. We want the biggest bang for our buck but we also understand there are limitations. Our owner, Becky Stonebarger, is dedicated to great customer service. A big part of the great service is truthfulness. She will explain exactly what our venue can and can’t handle. If your group is too large for our facility, Becky will tell you upfront. Even if it means suggesting a larger venue, run by someone else. Becky and her husband strive to give everyone a clean, bright, and welcoming space for everything from birthday parties to corporate training sessions, for the best price possible.