How not to fail in Meeting Customer’s Expectations?
When you are working in a business that serves customers (and that’s, basically, nowadays means any business) you have to know how to meet your customer’s expectations. If your company fails to do so, for some reason, certain service gaps appear.
What causes these gaps? First of all, gaps arise when there is a difference between what is expected and what is provided. This might be related to the quality of the product or service.
This brings us to a very important question – how to measure customers’ expectations in order to avoid such gaps?
The answer is simpler than you think – ask your customers. Here is an example. The majority of the people in Europe normally have Saturday and Sundays as week-ends. Most of them try to catch up with some private errands during the week-ends. For instance, they might need to go to make a haircut. But to their disappointment the hair cut saloon is closed most of the week-ends as well! This is exactly the gap we’ve been talking about. If somebody cared to listen to the customers, the time could be shifted to the satisfaction of the clients.
That is why it is so important to go through your customer’s feedback on regular basis. However, it is equally important to get feedback from your employees, too, especially those ones who work in customer service.
The second thing that helps companies to avoid gaps and meeting expectations is adhering to a standard as far as quality is concerned. True, there are numerous issues you have to take care of as a person running a business. You have to be focused on long-term strategies, marketing campaign, profit, situation inside the company. But quality has to remain the core of the whole thing. Being customer-oriented is crucial. Customers don’t want and don’t need to know what is happening inside the company. Therefore, they will evaluate you only on the basis of the quality of the product and services you provide.
Now let us discuss another very important issue – what exactly are customers looking for when they purchase your product?
Do they want to solve a particular problem? Are they interested in the ease of use? Is the way customer support service treating them important? Are they concerned with the speed? Or is it quality that is of primary importance? Probably, all of the above.
These things can and shall be properly measured. These are just some of the criteria you may take into account. Taking them into account will really give you a good idea about your customers’ expectations.
As it has been already mentioned above, one of the ways to provide quality service and meet expectations is to adhere to certain standards. But are standards always a good thing when it comes to customer service?
Some people believe that standards interfere with the unique personal experience as every customer has to be dealt and treated individually. But everyone will probably agree that many tasks (especially when it comes to larger numbers) are routine and, thus, shall be subject to standardization.
In many cases, standardization is a good thing. First of all, it creates a certain norm employees have to follow. They know what exactly is required and the services they provide cannot be poorer than what is expected. With such approach a customer would ultimately benefit from it.
It is very important to know and understand your customers’ expectations. There is no need to make assumptions and guesses – expectations and possible gaps can be measured and found with the help of surveys and other types of feedback. It is vital to avoid gaps between what a customer expects to get and what is, in fact, provided. Failing to meet the expectations of the customers will result in the loss of revenue and this is critical for any business. Thus, this issue has to be properly addressed at all company levels.