Setting customer expectations is a simple way to greatly improve the quality of your customer service. Sadly many companies fail to train their staff to successfully set the expectations of their customers. The result is that customer is left frustrated and often angry at not receiving the service they expected.

Before we start talking about how we can set and exceed a customers expectations, let me give you an example which illustrates the point that if we fail to set a customers expectation, they will set it for us!

There was one time when I called for a taxi and asked them to pick me up from home ASAP as I was meeting some friends that evening. The person on the phone said to me: “the taxi is on its way….” The taxi company I called were 5 minutes from my home so what do you think I assumed about the time my taxi would arrive? Well when they informed me that the “taxi is on its way” and I knew the company were 5 minutes from my home, I assumed that my taxi would arrive to pick me up……in 5 minutes! I set my own expectation.

5 minutes later, there was no taxi…..10 minutes…..nothing….15 minutes….nothing! I called the taxi company again to ask where my taxi was, they said: “it’s nearly with you….” 20 minutes….nothing……30 minutes later my taxi FINALLY arrived! I wasn’t impressed and safe to say I never used that taxi company again!

So what was the problem here? Well the company failed to set my expectations. They failed to tell me how long the taxi would be. I then went onto set my own expectation based on the assumption that the company were only 5 minutes away. I was then left disappointed when my expectations were not met. That company lost a customer because they failed to set a customers expectation.

Setting customer expectations could be the difference in having happy or angry customers. It could even be the difference in keeping or loosing customers!

So we’ve discussed why we need to set customer expectations, but I guess the next question is how can we successfully set customer expectations? My next post will discuss this in more detail………