Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
What Could Unmet Customer Expectations Cost Your Business?January 20th, 2015 by
Managing customer expectations is much easier said than done. Your company has specific processes and plans for handling every job, and although you understand these processes front to back, you also know a job not going according to plan is sometimes unavoidable. Although this is something you likely discuss with your customer from the beginning, do they really understand what that means? And if not, what price will you pay for not meeting their expectations?
A recent article by Mike Damora in Replacement Contractor Online explains that even though you may do great work and give your customer the finished product they asked for, there’s still a chance of unhappiness, unmet expectations, and even a negative online review. Damora outlines a couple key problem areas that could cost you.
Customer expects A and gets B
One of the major problems that can turn even the most profitable sales south is when a customer expects one thing and you deliver another. Damora says, “Say the salesperson promises the customer something, and the company fails to follow through. The customer expected A and instead they got B. [The expectation] could be something as simple as the start and completion date.” No matter how small the detail may seem to you, whether or not you deliver on that detail can potentially make or break a customer’s experience with your business.
Surprises, and not the fun kind
Another way to ensure that customers’ expectations are met is to implement what Damora calls a “No Surprise Policy.” For many of your customers, having work done on their home is a huge investment that may only happen a few times in their life, so be sure to deliver an experience with minimal surprises along the way. How? Set these expectations during the sales process. Damora gives an example of how a salesperson can eliminate surprise elements from the get-go:
“The mitered corner in the company sales brochure is perfect. But unless you’re going to paint it afterward, it’s not going to look like it does in the brochure. So if you sell that product to a homeowner, you’re going to need to explain all this. If you don’t, and it’s installed, then you’ve promised Product A and delivered Product B instead.”
Unexpected opportunities for disappointment
While you and your crew tackle jobs like this every day, your customers don’t. That’s why it’s important to explain exactly what will happen during the course of the project, both the good and the bad. Informing customers of potential mishaps or inconveniences from the beginning will help ease the tension if something does go wrong. Below, Damora shares a situation that may seem obvious to you, but your customers may never expect:
“Installing a roof is loud. People who’ve never been around it don’t know that. A lady said to me: ‘I couldn’t believe the hammering.’ Did she imagine that we just gently glued it together? Guess what happens when you put a dumpster on someone’s lawn? Grass dies. Put all of this in writing and you remove the opportunity for disappointment.”
Being honest and up-front with your customers from the beginning about what they should expect when working with your company is key for creating a great experience. This helps minimize the unexpected during the project and creates a more flexible relationship between you and your customer. If you’re interested in learning more about creating and nurturing relationships with your customers, download our eGuide.