Managing the expectations of customers is the act of communicating the kind of actions a business can take when it comes to accommodating customers. Also known as setting expectations or boundaries that define the limits of the business, how far it can go to resolve an issue, and when no means no.
The key to managing expectations is knowing how far to go in terms of accommodating a customer's need to get satisfaction with their purchase.
Businesses exist to deliver services and goods to customers, but they also exist to turn a profit for their continued existence.
It's a delicate balance of managing expectations to keep customers satisfied and returning in the future versus the customer's unrealistic expectations that a business should suffer losses to keep customers happy.
Customers develop their own high expectations of what they expect a business should provide in terms of customer service. This tends to happen when a business isn't clear about how far it's willing to go when it comes to meeting these unwritten customer expectations.
It's important for a business to avoid unpleasant interactions with customers, but it's not always possible. That's why it's important to set clear expectations in terms of what your business will do to accommodate a customer's needs while keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
Keep reading to learn more about the importance of setting personal expectations, understanding how customers form their own expectations, and why you need to teach your employees the art of clearly and calmly communicating the customer service rules to the customer.
Why managing expectations is vital for business success
To manage expectations is to set a healthy boundary between you and your customers. Your customer base has preconceived ideas of how your business operates that are based on prior experience, what they see in advertising materials, and word-of-mouth communications from friends and family.
The customer also develops different expectations for different industries, and they're also aware that customer service rules change over time. This is why it's important to have a communication strategy for your staff as they deal with unrealistic expectations from customers.
Having clear, defined customer service rules not only helps set expectations, it also makes the business appear honest and transparent in its dealings with customers. This goes towards reducing friction between your customers and employees, improves customer loyalty, and reduces the potential for arguments that generate bad feelings between all who are involved.
Understanding the importance of managing expectations
Managing expectations results in an improved customer journey and perception of your business.
In general, people form their expectations of a business before they make an initial engagement and carry those expectations with them as they interact with the owner or employees of the business. However, these expectations aren't always the right ones as the customer has no actual experience with how the business operates.