Customer expectations are the feelings, needs, and ideas that customers have towards certain products or services. Customers experience is based on what they want from the products or services they are paying for. Most successful organizations always aim at meeting or exceeding customer expectations through high-quality products and services. They are the outcome of a learning process and once they are formed.
These expectations influence decision-making towards a product or service selection which can be very difficult to change. For example, customers expect famous brands to be of high quality than new and generic brands. The little-known brands are not considered even if they are of superior quality than the famous brands.
Types of customer expectations
Implicit expectations – This type of expectation is based on the existing norms of performance. They are formed by experiences such as comparison with competitors’ products and alertness of their services.
Explicit expectations – These are the mental targets customers have regarding the quality of product, performance and services rendered. g. when the expectations of a customer are for a printer that prints 20 pages of quality color but the product delivered prints ten pages of quality color.
Interpersonal expectations – Interpersonal relationships are of paramount importance in situations where products need support to ensure that they function and/or are used properly. They focus on the relationship that exists between the customer and the product or service provider.
Dynamic performance expectations – This type of expectation addresses the evolution of a product or service over a period of time. The changes that a product or service undergoes in order to meet business goals as well as customer needs and wants; falls under dynamic expectations.
Managing customer expectations
Most successful companies are able to keep their customers happy for a long time by properly managing their expectations. The following are some of the effective strategies they use to manage expectations.
Openly discuss solutions – incase products or services have potential, the provider needs to be fully equipped with varieties of solutions so that customers have different alternatives if they ask for the impossible. This makes customers understand the complexity of any problem and be involved directly with its solution.
Transparency and honesty – customers’ ability to trust a company depends on transparency when managing customer expectations. Companies should ensure that customers have confidence in their providers by encouraging transparency and honesty when handling every situation. Customers who have a clue of what is happening will know what to expect and will be satisfied by how situations are being handled.
Provide clear timelines – customers will not raise complaints while waiting provided they know and understand why. They understand that errors and defects come up, but need the providers to be completely honest about it. They should clearly state the amount of time and work needed to complete a task or get them a solution.