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What do you think of when you hear the term “customer expectations”?

poinsetta tree

This tree exceeded my expectations. 🙂

Do you have all of your shopping done? How have your customer service interactions been? Rushed? Indifferent? Spectacular? Heartfelt? Or “D” all of the above?

We all are customers at some time or another. During the holiday season, we tend to find ourselves being more customer than at other times of the year. What you expect in customer service and product quality in the retail world are really the same things our internal and external customers expect of us in the business world. Two sides of the same coin.

When I use the term “customer expectations” what do you conjure up? What do those words mean to you? To me they relate to the following actions we need to focus on:

Deliver your commitments.
Trust is built on doing what you say you will do. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to recover. Keep track of what you say, regardless how small, and make sure you do it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Keep it simple.

Trust is built on strong communications. Be clear, be concise, and be ready to listen. The customer should never feel they are an interruption when it comes to communication. There is no such thing as “over” communicating if you do it right. Remember the old saying, “Tell them, Tell them again, and then Tell them one more time.”

Be authentic.
Trust is built on believing in the service, the product, and the process that is being purchased. Honesty manages expectations. Telling the customer what they want to hear prevents you from delivering your commitment. Ensure your Yes, is yes and your No, is no. Anything else can get you off-track.

Understand and partner with your customer to meet their needs.
Trust is built on the customer knowing you are there to make them successful. They will have issues and so will you. Your job is to partner with them to find a way forward that is doable by both sides. Look for the mutually beneficial solution. It’s there.

When you come down to the bottom line, good customer service has a lot of trust built into the experience. Trust is a long term play. It is not something built over night. Trust breeds more business.

Be intentional,