Managing customer expectations
When discussing customer service, the conversation is likely to turn to “managing customer expectations”. After all, how can you deliver excellent service, if you don’t know what the customer expects?
In service industries, where there is a relationship between those purchasing and selling the service, it should be possible to discuss the expectations. I say, it should, but we all know that many don’t.
In product industries, this is harder, so the suppliers have to make some assumptions and work from there. In my experience, many get it wrong. All is not lost though ….
Thursday last week, I discovered a large scratch on my windscreen and duly phoned the insurance company. I won’t bore you with the lengthy conversation and inane questions they asked me, and after a few long minutes, I was transferred to the Autoglass service desk. On discussion and review of my diary, it became clear that I was going to struggle to get them to my door / front path when I would be around. No problem, “we do evenings – how about Monday?” And so it was booked – 2 hour window for arrival time and up to 2 hours to fit.
On Monday afternoon, I received a message from the fitter, with his name and mobile number, to confirm the booking and appointment time. I called back and said that the time wasn’t quite what I’d expected and I might not be home in time – no problem, he shuffled the other appointment and got to me within 15 minutes of the advertised time.
The repair took about half an hour and I was advised to leave the car for another hour – the car was ready over 2 hours earlier than I had expected. My expectations – met and exceeded without specifically setting these up beforehand – by setting up a longer and later time than they needed, delivering in less time and calling in advance with a direct contact and fitter’s name.
Why are so many delivery companies unable to do this? The office stall tell you the delivery or warehouse team sort out the delivery order and timings – why can’t they call in the morning with a 2 hour time slot or when they are 2 calls away? What does your business do to identify, meet and exceed customer expectations? What else could you do? Do your staff have the skills to ask the right questions, deliver the messages assertively and the information and authority to make the decisions you need them to make?
Contact me if you’d like to discuss building skills to assess, manage and exceed customer expectations.