What are they expecting?

7716369 One of the most common customer service axioms is:  exceed their expectations.  We've all heard it.  But have you ever really thought about how it applies to your business.

Do you really know what their expectations are?  How can you exceed them if you don't?  Let me give you an example.

As you probably know, I walk Maggie the mostly lab along a park's bike path.  We walk for a couple miles and along the walk, there aren't any trash cans or dog waste receptacles except at the very start of the path. 

Should you be walking your dog and about a mile into the walk, the dog does their business, as a good dog owner you have to pick up the waste.  And then carry it for the next mile.   Not so great.

One Sunday, after having that exact experience, I sent an e-mail to the "contact us" button on the park and recs page.  I suggested a couple spots along the path that would easily accommodate a trash can. I didn't have high expectations.  After all, we're talking city government. 

So I was blown away on Monday morning when I had an e-mail back from the Director of Parks and Rec, saying it was a good suggestion and they'd get the cans out there soon.  I was even more blown away when the cans actually appeared within the week.

They totally and completely exceeded my expectations simply by answering my e-mail and listening.

But, had they decided to conduct a trash can usage survey, ignored my e-mail all together or put it on the next city council's agenda — my expectations would not have been exceeded.  They would have been met.  And I expected them to disappoint me.

Before you give your troops the "exceed their expectations" speech — why not figure out exactly what that means so you can not only give them the speech but also give them the road map on how to get it done.

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6 comments on “What are they expecting?

  1. patmcgraw says:

    Drew,

    Great post – I love it when someone points at something ‘obvious’ and asks ‘really?!’ And as someone that has to walk a mile with a ‘special package’ while walking my dog, I applaud your success.

  2. James Hipkin says:

    We have two largish dogs and feel your pain.

    One way to “exceed” expectations is to deliver or provide something of value when your customer aren’t expecting it. In other words, don’t wait for them to contact you.

    This is especially important for your best customers. Best customers know how important they are so the expectation is there although they probably haven’t stated it. Taking the initiative to reward them somehow, to surprise and delight them, will be well received and help create relationship equity.

  3. James Hipkin says:

    We have two largish dogs and feel your pain.

    One way to “exceed” expectations is to deliver or provide something of value when your customer aren’t expecting it. In other words, don’t wait for them to contact you.

    This is especially important for your best customers. Best customers know how important they are so the expectation is there although they probably haven’t stated it. Taking the initiative to reward them somehow, to surprise and delight them, will be well received and help create relationship equity.

  4. Stan Phelps says:

    James – I couldn’t agree with you more. You need provide your customers with an unexpected value added extra benefit. I call it ‘lagniappe’.
    http://www.mclellanmarketing.com/2009/04/recency-where-is-the-lagniappe-in-your-marketing-stan-phelps.html

    Capture the mind and conquer the heart
    @9inchmarketing

  5. That is an amazing accomplishment, I am impressed. I too appreciate when people go out of the way to do a good deed (or their JOB – HELLO). I had an experience some time back, I was trying to track down some info from a governmental office, I kept getting voice options, push 1 for XY, push 2 for YZ, etc round and round in circles I went, never getting a real person to talk to. I was at wits end, I called one Federal Govt. office, really it wasn’t ‘their’ area but I though what difference does it make, I will just listen to what their phone options give me.

    Low and behold, it was a real, breathing person on the other end of the line. I was right, they had no jurisdiction over ‘my problem’ but the secretary said, hold on – give me your number and I will see what I can find out for you. I gave her the number, and hung thinking that was that. The next day she called back, gave me some additional information and a name and # of another real person that answered their phone. I was able to solve my problem. I guess persistence pays off. I called that secretary back and invited her to lunch, she declined but simply said, “glad I could help.” WOW.

  6. Shannon says:

    To be a customer that is heard and listened to is great. Businesses need to be more accommadating to their source of income and sales. It’s easier to hold on to a customer than find a new one right?

    shannon
    aioposter

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