After a family vacation at an upscale hotel, a guest contacted the staff to say his young son had left his stuffed giraffe behind and was distraught. The toy was returned with a book of photos showing the animal enjoying himself during his “extended stay.”
The example shows the power of exceeding customer expectations. This practice makes customers feel highly valued, and leads them to tell others about their experience. The company wins a customer for life, and gains valuable word-of-mouth advertising.
Follow these best practices when striving to exceed customers’ expectations:
- Research customers' expectations. You can't exceed expectations if you don't know precisely what they are. Conduct surveys of customers asking their top priorities. Provide incentives to encourage as many to complete and return the survey as possible. Ask customers if their expectations are being met, and if not what you can do to change their thinking.
- Emphasize quality foremost. When customers no longer patronize a company, it’s most often because they felt disrespected. Take the time required to willingly resolve any issue fully. Customers will remember the value your company places on their business and be loyal to you.
- Make a connection. Among the expectations customers have of companies is that they're dealing with fellow human beings who respect their needs, and are trustworthy, empathetic and friendly. Often, these feelings are not conveyed by companies. Those that do make such a connection exceed customer expectations.
When you exceed customer expectations, you'll recruit a delegation of “brand ambassadors” eagerly committed to telling others how great you are. How great is that?
Do you have an example of your company creatively exceeding customer expectations?