Before learning how to manage client expectations, it is also important to set goals based on their needs. The most difficult part is to fullfil the needs of both the client and the organization. Customer satisfaction always leads to increased client loyalty and long-lasting relations.
Customer satisfaction guarantees the following benefits for companies that mee t their expectations :
- Expanded client base
- Positive feedback
- Brand awareness
- Growth in demand
- Revenue increase
- Free advertising (word of mouth and other techniques)
Types of Customer Expectations
Identifying client expectations and needs is a primary step to developing customer engagement strategies. To be able to that businesses need to know different types of customer expectations:
- Implicit expectations usually come from previous experiences with brand’s competitors.
- Static performance expectations refer to what customers anticipate of a company’s customization, accessibility, reliability, etc.
- Explicit expectations refer to looking for specific preferences in a brand’s product or service.
- Interpersonal expectations identify what tone of communication customers expect from a company’s representatives.
- Dynamic performance expectations are referred to how the product or service is expected to change and evolve over time.
What Does It Mean to Exceed Customer Expectations?
Positive сustomer experience is a bedrock for business success. Many companies when providing a service or a product focus on meeting their clients’ expectations. Whereas businesses that strive to deliver superb client experience know that meeting expectations isn’t good enough, they need to exceed them.
Exceeding these expectations means providing solutions of superior quality. In return, businesses get long-term relationships with customers and increase LTV.
3 Points Why Customer Service Should Exceed These Expectations
1. Competitive Advantages
No matter how big or small a business is, customer support is one of the most powerful ways to gain competitive advantages on the market. Your company may not provide the best product or service, but if you deliver a stunning customer support the people will choose your business over and over again.
The way you manage your support service represents the company’s values and approach to treating its customers. So it’s vital to provide the very best user experience to every first customer. That’s why it’s important to hire support agents with proper experience and personality traits to conduct customer support training, and ensure that the support team is able to provide high-end service. Being treated this way, customers automatically make a mental note of how good your service is which prompts them to recommend your services to other people in the future.
2. Creates Loyalty
High-end support service builds customers loyalty, which is extremely valuable asset to any business. One may wonder how do you provide an outstanding user experience and gain clients’ trust? The answer is consistency. More specifically, deliver a first-class customer support systematically.
It’s important to remember that customers, in their turn, struggle to find a reliable service provider for their needs. This process involves calling potential candidates, checking their reputation, evaluating service quality level, negotiating a deal, conducting due diligence and sometimes even going to the company’s site. So when customers find a suitable agency they expect a high level service. If a company is able to provide such service consumers will return over and over again, looking forward not only to the goods and services the company provides but to an exceptional customer experience, too.
3. Word-of-Mouth Advertising
It’s a well known fact that customers remember a bad user experience. But they also remember a stunning one. Thus, the power of word-of-mouth should not be underestimated in both cases. For example, if a user received poor assistance, they won’t hesitate to tell their family and friends about it. Likewise, if they were treated with care and respect, they would most likely share their positive experience with friends, coworkers, and family.
Such references attract more clients that hope to receive same top-level services. If you provide them with amazing assistance and ensure they get the best customer experience, the power of positive word-of-mouth will spread even further and act as an advertisement that costs your company nothing.
Word-of-mouth recommendations have such a strong power because no business advertisement can be so sincere as the feedback from a person you know and trust. Thus, word-of-mouth feedback works perfectly to convince people to try some goods or services.
Understand How Touchpoints Affect Your Relationship with Customer
Customer expectations don’t appear out of nowhere. They are systematically formed by ads, marketing, online reviews, the price of the products and services provided, references from close ones, and past experiences of a particular person. For example:
If the business offers goods with bad quality at a cheap price, customers will automatically expect poor support service. When trying to get in touch with such company, customers will anticipate a rude or untrained support rep and a long conversation to get what they want.
But if the company provides expensive products and services, customers will expect top-level customer support only and have very high expectations of the future experience with the brand. Consumers will expect support agents to go the extra mile and respond to their requests within seconds.
So, all these factors form customer expectations and influence the user experience. That’s why it’s so important to identify all the customer touchpoints and build adequate anticipations that the company can meet and even exceed.
How to Manage Customer Expectations – Even When They’re Unreasonable
Customers always expect more. The good news is that businesses can manage these expectations to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. If a customer asks for something unreasonable or something the business can’t do, that means that the company didn’t provide a clear message on what users can expect from its services.
If a business doesn’t set clear boundaries of what it can and can’t do there is no limitation to users’ expectations. So, it’s crucial to convey the right message to the target audience, from leads to returning customers, so that the customer expectations will correlate with the real solutions provided by the business.
Understanding New Customer Expectations
There are many factors that make business successful. Understanding customer needs and their expectations is one of them. Generally, there are several things clients expect from a service.
Customers expect individual approach to their problems. According to the research, 84% of customers claim they value a human touch in provider’s communication approach and that it plays an important role in winning their business. People says they want a provider to understand how they use its service/product and provide customized offers.
Majority of customers expect that their journey with a brand will be connected. However, many companies experience significant difficulties when trying to provide connected customer journeys. Businesses need to make sure to integrate their data and marketing systems to avoid any inconvenience in customer experience.
Today, people are more than ever alert about how their personal information is handled by commercial entities. Report says the majority of customers believe that their personal data is exposed to possible cyber attacks or security breaches. So they expect brands to provide data protection.
Innovative technology and solutions appeals to customers like no other thing. A common use of sophisticated tools amongst companies indicates that innovative technology has become widely accessible for businesses. So most customers expect their chosen brand to use the latest technology and innovative solutions in its work.
The Benefits of Understanding Customer Expectations
Customer satisfaction is the result of a great service experience getting clients’ needs fulfilled. So, here are the four advantages of understanding and managing customer expectations:
- Customer expectations show what level of service the users will be happy with.
- Customer support can work towards meeting these expectations.
- By knowing the exact customer expectations, it is manageable to exceed them.
- By meeting and exceeding customer expectations, a company can solve any complaint and gain more customer loyalty. That’s because complaints often appear due to customer expectations being not met, but, fortunately, this can be fixed by great customer support.
Setting Customer Expectations
Customer expectations start growing right from the start of collaboration with a brand. So it’s important to set customer expectations from the very beginning.
Customer needs are a base for forming their expectations as this information defines what service level users require, what customer support they find exceptional, and what results they look forward to.
Although such requirements may differ depending on the business specifics and individual preferences, it’s important to identify a common pattern and offer customized solutions to different types of consumers.
Main Principles of Client Management
Here are the main principles of client management that can help businesses achieve the right customer expectations and satisfaction rates:
Every customer wants to know all information about the company and its product/service, so transparency is a must. The brand should communicate its position and values clearly, update on any important changes and news, explain crucial business decisions, and show care and dedication to its customers.
- Clear communication
Following the previous point, transparency won’t be possible without clear and consistent communication. It is the communication that conveys the right message and the tone of voice to the audience. Depending on customer preferences, a company should present information on different communication channels and in various forms.
The last one, such messages from the company should align with the needs of the customers. What features and results are they looking for? What do they find important? If you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to build communication in the right way to reach the customers and please them.
Here are top 10 rules to succeed in this area
Managing Customer Expectations:
- Try to understand your customer. It is important to view any business-client relationships from a personal point of view as well. Show that care about how your client’s family is doing, what he or she do in their free time, what’s this person’s motivation in life, and how your business can help in achieving their goals. There are high chances that you’ll bond with your clients. It automatically increases the trust in the offered product or service.
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals to recall them every time. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. It is critical to set the goals previously discussed with the entire team as well as potential clients. This way, the business will be on the same page with the client, understanding and respecting the goals of each other.
- From the Go-Go, it is critical to stay sincere and honest. The key to client expectations management is staying honest in any situation. It is better to say that your business is not able to offer a particular feature and start working on the improvement instead of promising what your product or service cannot give. It’s impossible to predict whether all customers will admire the offered packaging or extra features: just do it and tell the truth.
- All projects need to be supported by a well-organized plan. Not only client expectation management but also financial or human resource management require a separate action plan. All employees and the owner themself should know what they have to release and when exactly a certain project should be finished. Plan of action and timelines will prevent your team from getting stuck in the middle of the process. The clients always want to see some progress and that their project is moving forward. To stay on track follow your plan every day.
- Managing client expectations is all about communication. To survive the harsh business competition in any field, it is critical to talk to your clients on a regular basis. There always must be a responsive support team available 24/7 to establish a sense of protection for each customer.
Exceeding Customer Expectations:
- Be a counselor and a good listener at the same time. Try to combine those two roles. Listen to your clients carefully to come up with all possible solutions to their problems. Those can be updated old products or brand new services. An open dialogue is the best way to learn more about client needs and objectives. Prevent your customers from using outsourced marketing services by being attentive to them.
- Anticipate the needs of your partners and clients. Many people just don’t know what they want at a certain point in life. Being an expert in marketing and client management, you should give valuable advice. There are a few steps a business must take to anticipate client’s goals:
- Conduct in-depth marketing research
- Learn the trends
- Get familiarized with the major psychological principles
- Get to know more about your client
- Communicate with your client regarding any issue
- What is a plan change? In case your business plan changes suddenly, you should be ready. The business owner must know all potential risks of the deal as well as the ways to prevent those threats. The backup plan has to be in place.
- Do not ignore the importance of regular reports. The reports must be posted every week if not every day. They should not be long – just highlight what was achieved during the working period. Show what your clients paid for and whether they were happy with a service.
- Make your client understand the true value of the item or service on the market. A PR plan is not enough for the client to motivate all journalists to call them. Being involved in active blogging, these clients may think they generate something like 10,000 leads monthly and receive 1,000 shares per post. Explain to them what terms like marketing sophistication and maturity mean, and where they are in the chosen industry. Recommend the further steps.
The advantages of building excellent relations with clients are obvious. The question is how exactly one can exceed customer expectations? We’re living in an age where people have very high expectations due to the rapid technological progress as well as significant advancements in other areas.
Now that you know how to understand customer needs and expectations, you may start or continue expanding your business idea.
Customer expectations have a huge impact on business success. Meeting those expectations is no more enough to outperform your competitors. Exceeding expectations is what it takes to gain a leading edge on the market and win client loyalty. That’s why companies should put effort into understanding customer expectations and planning how to manage them.