Why You Should Always Set Customer Expectations
When growing a business, finding the right areas to invest in can seem like a daunting task. There’re so many moving parts in a company—how do you even start to improve all of them? No matter what your industry, however, one area businesses should not skimp on is customer service. Proactively managing customer expectations helps you stay one step ahead and weather problems when they do arise without harming your relationships. Companies that commit to solving issues before they pop up keep consumer satisfaction high by continuously matching or exceeding expectations.
The Importance of Setting Customer Expectations
Customer expectations, put simply, is what people assume they will receive from the business they’re frequenting. This could be as simple as receiving a good or service; it could also be intangible, such as a smile on the cashier’s face or a friendly operator. Proactively setting customer expectations helps predict what problems customers will encounter and ensures that the company has a chance to prevent service deficiencies. This translates to increased loyalty and trust from your customer base.
It Helps Build Trust Between a Company and its Customers
When customers know exactly what to expect from a company, it becomes easier for the business to deliver on its promises. In turn, customers learn to trust the business as one that follows through and will return time and again. In a global 2019 Edelman study, 60% of respondents said that they usually shop only at brands they trust. And at the end of the day, a consistently satisfied customer is a trusting customer.
It Keeps Customers Satisfied
We’ve already clarified that satisfied shoppers are loyal ones. But how can you keep customers happy? Aim to meet these three main goals—customers want consistency, tangible assets and a response.
A restaurant wouldn’t get a pass from a customer because they only serve rotten food half the time. People want to know that they can receive a consistent product at every interaction. Keeping communication clear and continuous will do more to keep shoppers coming back, more than any discount or promotion will do.
Consumers also want physical proof of a company’s product and attention. They want to see an office with customer service staff ready to help any walk-ins, a real product they can try out and—in the event of a refund—a receipt they know will be honored. Even a simple email from a manager acknowledging a complaint helps people feel taken care of.
It Increases Customer Loyalty and Brand Awareness
Ideally, a newly satisfied customer doesn’t just return in the future but also becomes a brand ambassador. The more a satisfied customer shops with you, the more they will advertise your product to their friends and family. Suddenly, you have a free walking and talking advertisement for your business! And since user-generated social proof is the most valuable for shoppers, their testimonials will likely draw in even more business for you.
How to Manage Customer Expectations
Managing customer expectations, then, is critical to delivering satisfactory service. How can you do so? It starts by being a master of your product. Approach your customer with confidence and a thorough understanding of both your product and their needs. And then communicate it to them!
Know Your Product
Every salesperson needs to be an expert on what they’re selling. If you can't answer customer questions, how do you expect to convince them and close the sale?
However, operating as a confident salesperson is hard if you don’t know your product. So do your homework! Learn your product inside and out, and you’ll be ready to answer any customer queries during your pitch. Prepping simple answers to questions related to product manufacturer, use and accompaniments should be a key part of planning any pitch. Always try to advertise an item’s benefits for customers, not necessarily just the features of the product themselves.
Know Your Customers
While you’re compiling your careful research on your product, make sure to do the same regarding your customer. Knowing what a customer wants ahead of time helps you tailor your pitch to meet them where they are. You can use this data to build hyper-personalized marketing collateral targeted directly at your intended demographics.
Build out your client profiles and personas ahead of time and use your engagements to collect more data to further refine your understanding. “How did you find our product?” is a simple question that opens a number of insights. The answer to this question might give you guidance as to where to target your promotional efforts. It might also give you key demographic information as to who is buying. For example, older consumers might spot your product in commercials on cable TV, whereas you might reach a younger demographic with a digital-heavy advertising approach. Asking these simple yet targeted questions makes customers feel considered and nets you new insights.
No one likes being lied to, especially when their time and money are involved. The single best policy you can implement in your marketing is transparency. Trust with a customer is hard to build up, but easy to decimate with one bad experience. According to Hubspot research, 69% of people don’t trust advertisements, while 71% don’t trust advertisements on social media. In a world where consumers don't know who to turn to for a fair deal, make sure you’re the one they turn to.
Communicate Clearly and Regularly
Shoppers want clear, easy communication. In order to provide a positive experience and meet—or exceed—expectations, make sure you offer abundant, accessible channels. Respond to and resolve complaints and questions in a timely, courteous manner.
Following up on customer messages and leads not only helps you manage customer expectations—it also leads to increased sales. Without being pushy, sending leads reminders or offers can keep the lines of communication open for when they do decide to make another purchase or have a question or complaint.
Remain Open to Feedback
Building client personas and creating great engagement channels isn’t a one-and-done activity. You need to constantly collect new information in order to better fine-tune your products and marketing to meet people’s needs. With that in mind, the best resource you have is the people who are already using your product.
Use customer surveys and product reviews to identify problem points in customers’ experiences. Stay open to their critique, as their responses can help you identify and correct errors in your operating strategy. If enough people complain about a point of service, it’s likely that they’re correct about it. Gathering and implementing feedback helps improve retention rates and drive customer success.
Close Deals with Ingage
Customers make their decisions based on their overall experience in an interaction. The best product in the world can’t rise above a terrible presentation or customer service delivery. This is why no matter what you’re selling, you need to ground your approach in a customer-experience-first mentality. Once you’ve won them over, you’ll have a base of loyal fans to follow along your company’s journey.
In addition to integrating the best customer expectation management strategies, it also helps to apply the most innovative tools. That’s where Ingage comes in. Ingage offers a suite of intuitive, robust presentation software tools to help you take your pitches to the next level. From powerful animation and audiovisual tools, to a bevy of slide templates, to detailed analytics to help you break down engagement, Ingage has all the tools you need to deliver the best pitch you can.
What are you waiting for? Reach out to Ingage for a free demo and supercharge your sales team today!