The act of saying that you would like to exceed the expectations of your customers is easy. Actually doing it is much more challenging. We take a simple look at how your business can plan ahead to make customers very happy.

Build it into your strategy

If you are pitching for a company culture that exceeds the expectations of its customers, the first step to success is to note down your desire to do so at a strategic level. This will be a driver for the way that you interact with your customers at every touchpoint across your business.

Set your customer’s expectations. In detail.

You may have already mapped out your customer’s ‘journey’. This charts their interactions with your business and your brand: from first awareness right through to the delivered product or service and beyond.

According to your brand positioning you will be able to identify the optimum level of service that your clients should expect and your business can afford. Communicate the same message consistently through your staff, online, and through any literature or iteration of your brand.

Make sure your infrastructure supports your service expectations

A simple example of managing expectations is the method by which a customer can contact you. If you offer a client a phone number you set an expectation that someone will answer it. Each time you take a step away from that immediate response you risk creating disappointment. What are the hours of availability? Will there be a queue? Will they have to leave a message? How long will they have to wait for a response?

To exceed expectations look at the interaction from your customer’s perspective. Value their time. Offer a phone number by all means but clearly state when the number will be manned. If you take messages make it clear when there will be a response. If there is a queue give customers the chance to be called back, and make it clear to them when it will happen. If the call is out of hours considering offering a mobile number and having a staff member on call for emergencies. Take the time to define the parameters within which you operate and then find ways to exceed expectations.

Exceed expectations on a daily basis

There are many smart ways of working on a daily basis that can be adopted to support your desire to exceed expectations. Aren’t we all guilty of promising to get something back to someone by the end of the day when we know it really isn’t going to be possible? We set ourselves up for failure in our desire to please people and make them happy. But we could be so much more successful if we promised to get it back to them by the end of tomorrow and then delivered it mid-morning instead. It’s these little opportunities to exceed expectation that can make us stand out in the minds of our customers. Their expectation will remain that we will deliver on time. The reality is we have achieved more than that.

The biggest challenge to managing and exceeding customer expectations around service is to define and communicate clearly what a customer can expect. Once you’ve done this you can build your business to deliver a service that offers more than it promises. And your customers will thank you for it.

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