Knowing or thinking you know
Do we know the expectations we aim to fulfil, or do we just think we know what those expectations are? Many companies have been in the market for years and claim they know the market. Yet they have never asked customers about their expectations. Their knowledge is consequently often limited to such practical matters as product features, delivery times, etc.
In times of significant change, customer expectations also change. How can these changes affect customer expectations? Are we able to adapt accordingly? If we've always sold compressors, say, could we perhaps start selling compressed air?
Furthermore, does every customer have the same expectations? Which customers do we consider more important and which expectations do we therefore consider more important?
Are the management team the only ones managing customer expectations? Are these expectations known to the management team only or is the whole organisation also familiar with them? Is there internal dialogue about expectations so that everyone's expertise can be utilised?
Or has the management or sales team given its own interpretation, making it an assignment for the organization? It may seem strange; people want to live up to customer expectations, but dig their heels in if they themselves cannot be involved in the solution.
Want to, have to, can do
Whether an organisation wants to live up to expectations is determined by its strategy. Clear. But does everyone within the organisation want to live up to that expectation? After all, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. But how do you get everyone on board?
Which expectations must we manage and which do we want to manage? Which expectations become customer dissatisfiers if they are not fulfilled? Which expectations help set us apart from the competition? More importantly: which expectations have a direct effect on customer loyalty?
Once it is clear that this is what everyone wants, the next question is: can we live up to expectations? Is the organisation set up for this and does it have the necessary competencies in house?
A missed opportunity
Unless we have answered all of the above questions, we spend every day living up to expectations: Who will do that and when? What does it require?
Everyone did their best but the customer went to a competitor. Because the customer was never asked what their expectations were. A missed opportunity
If you do want to manage expectations, please contact us.
Mike van Beek