5 Strategies to Manage Customer Expectations

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Retaining customer relationships is grounded in meeting customer expectations. But this can be challenging.

Your customers’ perception of what a great experience is can change over time, and this is largely due to digital transformation.

Globalization, transformative technologies, and pure innovation mean consumers today have more access to commodities than ever before.

In effect, consumers have higher standards, and for good reason. Businesses should have the resources to keep customers satisfied.

A 2022 survey found that 73% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs.

But if businesses can’t keep up with these demands, they are the ones who get penalized. The solution: ensure that your customers are satisfied by anticipating and exceeding expectations.

What Are Customer Expectations?

Customer expectations describe how customers predict their experience will be when they use a product or service. A visual of a man with speech bubbles containing the words

Meeting customer expectations takes more than simply offering a service that completes an objective or a functional product that fulfills a purpose.

The overall customer experience (CX) is based on both the customer’s perceived performance of the product or service and how well it meets their expectations.

While it may be easy enough to deliver a product or service that works, more than likely the customer was expecting more than just the bare minimum.

The full range of customer expectations can be vast, but knowing how to manage them is critical.

Types of Customer Expectations

There are many different types of expectations, many of them overlapping. These expectations have significant value in the decision-making process for both your current customers and leads.

Learning about them will help you understand just how expansive customer expectations can be and the numerous ways in which you can exceed customer expectations.

  1.   Implicit expectations

Implicit expectations are based on market trends and often correlate with the base standard you can expect a business of any niche to provide.

These expectations tend to involve a comparison. “Compared to McDonald’s, Wendy’s fries are subpar,” is one example of an implicit expectation not being met.

   2.  Explicit expectations

Explicit expectations are well-identified and revolve around what a business’s target audience is looking for.

For instance, consumers expect a phone that doesn’t break easily.

While sturdy Motorolas are a thing of the past, Samsung addressed a gap in the smartphone market for compact phones by creating a foldable phone — the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Unfortunately, durability is a huge issue with this model and many user complaints suggest that the phone screen cracks for seemingly no reason.

This is an example of trends and aesthetics being prioritized above meeting customer expectations.

   3.  Interpersonal expectations

Interpersonal expectations encompass the type of interactions customers want to have when speaking to support or customer service teams.

Though these expectations are not necessarily tied to the product or service in question, they do play an important part in building lasting relationships with customers.

Positive customer experiences promote customer loyalty in the long term.

   4.  Static performance expectations

Static performance expectations refer to the overall performance and quality of the brand.

Accessibility, customization, dependibality,  punctuality, and user experience, among other front-facing elements, influence your brand image.

   5.  Dynamic performance expectations

Dynamic performance expectations are related to how your product or service matures over time.

Businesses should respond appropriately to shifts in customer needs or business goals.

   6.  Digital expectations

Digital expectations are what customers expect when interacting with your brand online.

Customers seek an easy and personalized user experience. And naturally, they’re privy to data security and privacy as well.

   7.  Technological expectations

Technological expectations center on the evolving nature of a product category.

For instance, each year flagship electronics manufacturers release new models of mobile phones. As a result, customers always look forward to new features and shinier, more innovative mobile phones.

Continuous development in the technological realm enhances the expectations of consumers, leaving them wanting more.

   8.  Situational expectations

Situational expectations are affected by the customer’s experience both pre- and post-purchase.

Customers may form expectations based on vague imagery, like a vacation destination, or a sensory experience, like the taste or texture of food.

The nature of these situational expectations are largely unpredictable and can change over time.

5 Strategies to Manage Customer Expectations

Though customer expectations can be complex, it is the responsibility of business owners and managers to address them.

Naturally, there are several ways to manage customer expectations, but here are five, powerful strategies that can start you off on the right foot.An infographic titled

 1.  Be Transparent and Honest

Being transparent is key to managing customer expectations effectively. Your business might not always be able to give consumers what they want in real-time.

Being honest about your shortcomings strengthens your relationship with clients and their confidence in your organization.

 2.  Collect Customer Feedback

Create opportunities to listen to the expectations of your customers.

According to the HubSpot Annual State of Service in 2022 report, 42% of businesses do not survey their customers.

These companies fail to understand customer expectations. And in turn, they fail to meet them.

In the age of chatbots, social media, email, and a wide assortment of survey-collecting strategies, there’s no real excuse to neglect your customers’ feedback.

 3.  Follow Up

Your business can make a great impact on customer experience by following up with a client after initial contact.

Even if an issue seems to be resolved, your support team should always follow up to make sure that everything is in working order.

Customer engagement makes for happy customers.

 4.  Prioritize Customer Service

Poor customer service is more than a damper on a growing business. It’s a black hole.

A whopping 96% of customers stop doing business with a company due to poor service alone.

In the past, large firms would get away with lousy service so long as consumers had no other option.

Now customers are willing to work with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) if you can promise a frictionless experience.

Elevating your customer service teams is crucial to having a competitive advantage in the market.

 5.  Cultivate Customer Loyalty

The importance of customer loyalty cannot be stressed enough.

When you don’t meet customer expectations or it’s becoming difficult to keep up with the competition, customer satisfaction will inform the loyalty of your consumer base.

Some things you can do to develop customer loyalty include:

    • Establish regular and routine communication with customers
    • Personalize communication and products where applicable
    • Show customers that you’re grateful for their service
    • Make sure you’re addressing customer expectations on all avenues (implicit, digital, dynamic, etc.)

Keeping customers happy, regardless of the obstacles you face, will insure their loyalty to your brand.

Exceeding Expectations 

Figuring out how to woo someone you’ve never met is difficult, to say the least. But this is why the most fruitful strategies for managing customer expectations all involve customer interaction.

Touching base with the people who use your products and services is imperative and it’s the first step in fully understanding what they need and want.

Measuring customer satisfaction, surveying customers, or simply talking to them are all productive ways to gauge the interests of the people who support your business.

Once you understand your clientele, you will gain increased empathy, and this is a priceless tool for exceeding customer expectations in the long run.
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With over 10 years of experience in software outsourcing, Alex has assisted in building high-performance teams before co-founding Trio with his partner Daniel. Today he enjoys helping people hire the best software developers from Latin America and writing great content on how to do that!
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