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Customer Expectations

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Customer Expectations

Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want – and a little more."

- Sam Walton

The main goal of customer service should not be to meet customer expectations but to exceed them, in order to satisfy the customer.

What is customer expectation?

To understand customer expectations, it is important to first define them. Then we'll look at the different types and how to identify and manage these expectations.

Customer expectations can be defined as the set of actions, behaviours, environment, and benefits the customer looks for while interacting with a business.

Expectations of customers vary depending on the product or service they are looking for. Customer expectations have increased with the advancement of technology and digitalisation. Big firms spend millions of dollars to understand the trends in customer expectations and improve their services accordingly.

One reason to value customer expectations is the fact that the loss of business due to unsatisfied customers forces the company to acquire new customers, which costs the company more than what it would cost to maintain existing ones.

Identifying customer expectations

Identifying customer expectations is crucial to fulfilling or exceeding them. However, one challenge of this is the change in customer expectation trends.

Understanding customer expectations requires extensive research and asking the right questions. You have to make sure that you understand your industry and its changes well and in a timely fashion. This requires continuous communication with your customers.

Unlike before, customers now expect tailored experiences. Delivering this requires in-depth collection and understanding of feedback from each customer. It is helpful for businesses to ask questions, such as the following, to customers to gain a better understanding of their expectations:

  • Who is the target audience?

  • Are the products relevant?

  • What do customers value?

  • What are the features that help other brands stand out?

Customer needs analysis is a common technique followed by businesses to understand their target audience and their needs. It is the process of identifying customer requirements for a particular product or service. It helps businesses understand what factors affect a customer’s purchase decision.

The following methods can help to understand customer expectations and their experiences:

  • Customer surveys - this helps businesses understand how well they have been meeting customer expectations, how much more work has to be put in, and where, in order to meet customer expectations.

  • Customer interviews - this involves direct communication with the customer to collect feedback. This way, businesses can also understand how customers feel about the brand from their tone.

  • Customer review - reviews customers leave online can also help businesses understand how they feel about the brand. This can help to gain an insight into the gaps in fulfilling customer expectations.

Customer Expectations, Methods to understand customer expectations, StudySmarterFigure 1. Methods in understanding customer expectations, StudySmarter

Examples of customer expectations

Some examples of common customer expectations are mentioned below:

  • Quick service - Customers expect quick and efficient service from interactions with a business.

  • Shorter waiting time - Customers expect and are willing to wait for certain services such as consulting a doctor. But having to wait long hours, especially after the appointed time can cause discomfort and dissatisfaction.

  • Trustworthiness - Customers expect businesses to deliver what they promised. Failing to do so will reflect negatively on the business, and customers will not return. This can include timely delivery, quality products, etc.

  • Clean surroundings - Keeping the business surroundings clean, hygienic, and pleasant is very important, and is one of the very basic expectations from a customer.

  • Availability of products or services - When customers come looking for a specific product or service, they expect the product to be available. Inability to cater to the customer’s wants will result in dissatisfied customers.

These are some of the common and basic expectations from customers. Remember that they can change for different types of business interactions.

Types of customer expectations

The customer expectations can be of various types (see Figure 2 below), and they are as follows:

  • Explicit expectations - These are specific mental targets the target audiences have about a particular product or service.

  • Implicit expectations - These are the basic characteristics customers anticipate when interacting with a business. They depend on the existing behaviours of other businesses in the market.

  • Interpersonal expectations - These are the expectations customers have during personal contact with any of the staff members. Customers expect staff to be well-informed, respectful, and professional.

  • Digital expectations - Customers now have contact with businesses more often digitally than personally. This is the type of expectation that customers have when they communicate or interact with the brand digitally rather than in person.

  • Dynamic performance expectations - As customer needs change over time, they expect products to evolve accordingly. Product changes are important for businesses to remain relevant in the market. These expected changes in a product or service are called dynamic performance expectations.

Customer Expectations, Types of customer expectations, StudySmarterFigure 2. Types of expectations, StudySmarter

Importance of customer expectations

One of the most important goals of every business is to satisfy customers and make sure that they come back. Customer satisfaction is important to retain customers, and meeting their expectations is important to satisfy them. Therefore, understanding customer expectations and fulfilling them is one of the first steps for businesses.

If your brand manages to fulfil customer expectations, it reflects positively on the brand and its products. Customers will be satisfied and perceive the product to be of high quality. This will in turn result in repeat purchases and positive word of mouth.

Consequently, this will boost product sales and will also help the brand in acquiring new customers through word of mouth. Repeat purchases result in a loyal customer base. A brand that fulfils or exceeds customer expectations and has many loyal customers will stand out in the market, giving the competitors a tough time.

How does a business manage customer expectations?

Expectations may not be met due to many factors. But it is important to communicate the reason for them not being met, and rightfully manage the expectations so as to not lose customers. Business can do this by adopting the following methods:

  • Honest communication - if a company is facing a situation that is hindering them from providing the best service or meeting expectations, it must be openly communicated to the customer. This helps customers set realistic expectations and build their trust in the brand.

  • Well-informed customer service - it is important to offer a solution to every problem the customers might present. Being well-informed will help service employees provide many possibilities and solutions, and provide them quickly.

  • Being realistic - it is important to make sure that you only promise your customers what is realistic and achievable by the means of the business. Promising unrealistic solutions will lead to unsatisfied customers who will lose their trust in the brand when you fail to deliver the promises.

  • Follow up - after identifying a problem, it is important to follow up with the customer and track their experience and satisfaction after having offered a solution. Firms should make sure that the customer has benefitted from the solution, and that their expectations have been met.

 Customer Expectations, Ways to manage customer expectations, StudySmarterFigure 3. Ways to manage customer expectations, StudySmarter

Now you know how big of a role customer expectations play in business. Identifying them and taking steps to continuously understand changes in expectations is non-negotiable for businesses, as it affects the very survival of the business.

Customer expectations - Key takeaways

  • Customer service can be defined as the set of actions, behaviours, environment, and benefits the customer looks for while interacting with a business.
  • Customer analysis techniques can help identify customer expectations.
  • Customer surveys, interviews, and reviews can help understand customer expectations and their experiences.
  • Quick service, shorter waiting time, trustworthiness, clean surroundings, and availability of products or services are a few examples of customer expectations.
  • Explicit, implicit, interpersonal, digital, and dynamic performance are the types of customer expectations.
  • Fulfilling or exceeding customer expectations builds business reputation, results in repeat purchases and word of mouth, boosts sales, and helps in acquiring new customers and setting a loyal customer base.
  • Honest communication, well-informed customer service, being realistic, and following up with customers can help to manage customer expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Customer Expectations

Customer expectations can be defined as the set of actions, behaviours, environment, and benefits the customer looks for while interacting with a business.

Quick service and product/service availability are some examples of customer expectations. 

Customer expectations are important because when a business fulfills them, it would boost sales, higher customer retention, brand loyalty, and repeated purchases. 

To identify customer expectations, the following questions must be answered:

  • Who is the target audience?

  • Are the products relevant?

  • What do customers value?

  • What are the features that help other brands stand out?

Explicit, implicit, and digital expectations are some of the types of customer expectations. 

Final Customer Expectations Quiz

Question

Define customer expectations.

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Answer

Customer expectattions can be defined as the set of actions, behaviours, environment, and benefits the customer looks for while interacting with a business. 

Show question

Question

Customer expectations are set and do not change among customers. True or False?

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Answer

False. Expectations of customers vary from one another, and also vary depending on the product or service they are looking for. 

Show question

Question

What is the challenging part of identifying customer needs?

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Answer

A challenging part about this is the change in customer expectation trends. 

Show question

Question

What is customer needs analysis?

Show answer

Answer

Customer needs analysis is a common technique followed by businesses to understand their target audience and their needs. It is the process of identifying customer requirements for a particular product or service. It helps to understand what factors affect a customer’s purchase decision. 

Show question

Question

Name a few methods to understand customer expectations and their experience until now.

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Answer

Customer survey, customer interviews, and customer reviews

Show question

Question

Name a few examples of customer expectations.

Show answer

Answer

Quick service, shorter waiting time, trustworthiness, clean surroundings, and availability of products or services are a few examples of customer expectations.

Show question

Question

What are the types of customer expectations? 


Show answer

Answer

Explicit, implicit, interpersonal, digital, and dynamic performance are the types of customer expectations. 

Show question

Question

What is the importance of customer expectations? 


Show answer

Answer

Fulfilling or exceeding customer expectations builds business reputation, results in repeat purchases and word of mouth, boosts sales, and helps in acquiring new customers and setting a loyal customer base. 

Show question

Question

How can you effectively manage customer expectations? 


Show answer

Answer

Honest communication, well-informed customer service, being realistic, and following up on customers can help to manage customer expectations.

Show question

Question

How do customer interviews help in understanding customer expectations?

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Answer

Customer interviews involve direct communication with the customer in order to collect their feedback. This way, you can also understand how they feel about the brand from the tone of communication, and is the most reliable form of collecting feedback. 


Show question

Question

What are explicit expectations?

Show answer

Answer

They are specific mental targets the target audiences have about a particular product or service. 

Show question

Question

Define implicit expectations.

Show answer

Answer

Implicit expectations are the basic characteristics customers anticipate when interacting with a business. It depends on the existing behaviours of other businesses in the market. 

Show question

Question

Expectations customers have while having personal contact with any of the staff members are called _________.


Show answer

Answer

interpersonal expectations

Show question

Question

The type of expectation that customers expect when they communicate or interact with the brand digitally is known as __________.


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Answer

digital expectations.

Show question

Question

The basic characteristics customers anticipate when interacting with a business are called:


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Answer

Implicit expectations

Show question

Question

It is important to make sure that you only promise your customers what is realistic and achievable by the means of the business.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

It is not important to follow up with customer and track their experience and satisfaction after having offered a solution

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

If your brand manages to fulfil customer expectations, it will ... on the brand and its products.


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Answer

reflect positively

Show question

Question

What are the benefits of fulfilling customer experience?

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Answer

positive word of mouth

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Question

Fulfilling customer expectations has no impact on the company's ability to attract new customers. 

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Specific mental targets the target audiences have about a particular product or service are called ...


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Answer

Explicit expectations 

Show question

Question

Customers expect staff to be well-informed, respectful, and ...


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Answer

professional

Show question

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