Exceeding Customer Expectations
In the early 1990’s I was working for a large company and a consultant was brought to help us to increase sales and increase customer satisfaction.
Since I like stories, I must use one of my stories to illustrate this point. I usually tear off when I think of it. I hope you like it!
The consultant explained that we all have different personalities and expectations. For those of us who are Type A personality we expect that someone would start working on our task as soon as we communicate it.
Recently I went to have my eyes checked, my prescription had changed and ordered glasses. The person who took my order said it will be two weeks before you can have your glasses. I am type A and asked for a shorter timeline. She said no, I told her I would pay extra. She said no, I agreed to wait for two weeks. My glasses arrived in seven days, I was very happy about it!
The consultant said the following steps are key to exceeding customer expectations:
- Understand your company’s production schedule: Know what your team and you can do and if there is a production schedule you need to be familiar with it.
- Define the Timeline and expectations: When you communicate with a prospect/client it is very important that you set the correct expectations. Use any of the following:
- You will have this widget shipped by Friday March 1 and you can expect it at your home by March 7.
- We can put this task in production in the next 24 hrs and you should be able to review it in 5 business days.
- We will cue your project on Friday for next week and it should be available for you to comment on it by the following Thursday.
- I will check with my team and will let you know tomorrow when you can expect this task done.
- I will be able to give you a timeline when you provide us with the missing content you owe us.
Notice the above have a clear timeline or defined.
Avoid the Following statements:
- We will get this done asap (as soon as possible)
- We will get it all done soon
- Let me get back to you
- Communicate effectively: The consultant then said that verbal communicate tends to be misunderstood. In order to communicate effectively you need to repeat, summarize and use two methods. Verbal and any of the following: email, voice message, text, project management milestone software, calendar notification.
Communicate effectively is a very important ingredient of the whole process. Say what you will do twice and confirming with email or any of the mentioned methods above is key.
- Give extra time to every task: When the person sets the timeline on step 2) mentioned above it must be done with extra time. For example if you know something can be done by Wednesday, then add 2 days and say Friday. If this is done correctly and you receive the task delivered by Wednesday, then communicate to the client you have just exceeded the customer expectations. If the production team delivered by Thursday you can still exceed customer expectations. If the production team delivers by Friday you have delivered on time.
- Verify: Please make sure the tasks were done correctly prior to communicating to the client. You need to review the task if possible to make sure the task was done correctly by the production team.