Exceeding expectations is difficult to define for many businesses and even harder to implement. Exceeding expectations has to be more than just delivering an “expected” service or product. I use the analogy of walking into a department store. You expect a sales person to come and offer assistance, help you find what you are looking for and then help you purchase the item. The salesperson performed a good service, but the buyer probably won’t go tell friends about the service they received and about the store where the purchase was made. The level of service provided was as expected.
Often business owners strive to meet the expectations of their clients and if met, are satisfied. The customer may or may not come back if a similar service or product is available elsewhere.
The challenge all small business owners face is to define and deliver services that exceed the consumers’ expectations. In his book “The Pursuit of Wow”, Tom Peters said: “70 percent of lost customers hit the road not because of price or quality issues but because they didn’t like the human side of doing business with the prior provider of the product or service”. With that statement, Peters helps narrow the “exceeding Expectation” dilemma by saying that it is a “human issue”.
In my opening example, what could the salesperson have done to exceed the buyers’ Expectations? Can you make a list of possible scenarios? The answers, by our definition, have to revolve around the actions of the salesperson.
This is a great exercise for all small business owners to complete as it relates to their product or service. I use it as an exercise with business owners; I like to include the staff (if there is one) in the thinking process.
My challenge to you is to develop your own list of actions that will cause your customers to say WOW! Use your mentor or coach as a sounding board during this exercise.
It’s not enough anymore to merely satisfy the customer; customers must be “delighted” –surprised by having their needs not just met, but exceeded.
Nick J. Petra CFP email@example.com
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