The Write Stuff – Blog

Oct 16 2011 Great Expectations – The One Great Universal Truth
Customer service meeting expectations

You may think customer service is a complex issue and that keeping your customers happy is even more difficult, after all, everyone wants something different and surely you can’t please all the people all the time…

Or can you?

The truth is, keeping your customers happy and coming back for more boils down to one very simple act: meeting expectations.

People are generally quite happy so long as their expectations are being met. It’s when expectations get thrown out the window that tempers flare and scathing tweets and status updates are posted.

Most recently we saw the fall out from Melbourne retailer GASP and last year St. Croix Falls Cinema 8 (Wisconsin) found itself making headlines for similar reasons.

Had the customers at the centre of these incidences had their expectations met – both in their initial experience with these vendors and then with the follow up to their subsequent complaints – some very public backlash would never have happened.

It can be a very harsh lesson better avoided! Even though the specific needs of your customers may vary, their expectations remain fairly constant:

  • What is promised will be delivered.
  • Service will be timely, helpful and (shock, horror) even friendly!
  • Meaningful assistance will be rendered when required.
  • Problems will be dealt with swiftly, professionally and amicably.

Meet all of these expectations and you’ll not only have your customers coming back for more, chances are they’ll be telling all their friends about you.

Then again, get it wrong and they’ll still be telling all their friends about you – only for all the wrong reasons.

4 Responses to “Great Expectations – The One Great Universal Truth”

  • Reply Belinda Weaver October 19, 2011at 5:54 am

    Such an essential point Anna! I think that a critical part of meeting expectations is setting the right expectations. Now everyone has appropriate expectations of the GASP staff but the anxiety was really created by the customer having mismatched expectations of the service provider. 

    I suggest that businesses offering a service take the time to explain what the service entails and what the process will be, so there won’t be any surprises. It also means you have scope to delight your customers by exceeding their expectations!! 

    • Reply Anna Butler October 19, 2011at 6:04 am

      You’re so right Belinda – it’s absolutely critical to set the expectations from the outset. 

      It’s just a shame that for some vendors, basic customer service (let alone GREAT customer service) is subject to whether you meet THEIR expectations. 

      Still, it makes it that much easier for those who ARE offering service above and beyond what is expected… which really, isn’t that hard. 

  • Reply Adrian Brien Auto October 20, 2011at 11:46 pm

    It’s also good to exceed expectations sometimes by surprising and delighting customers with a bonus that they were not aware of initially 🙂

    • Reply Anna Butler October 21, 2011at 12:30 am

      Couldn’t agree more – and often it doesn’t have to be much, but the little things can definitely make a big difference to your customer’s experience.

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