Customers have expectations when they frequent businesses and pay for services. The more they pay, the higher the expectation. Meeting expectations is acceptable for most customers but won’t win your organization any kudos. However, exceeding expectations will likely keep the customers feeling satisfied with their purchases and can lead to repeat purchases over time. Lifetime relationships with customers can lead to high profits.
Customers also desire value in products. Value is often defined by each customer in different ways. For example, one customer might want a clean looking product while another wants more help with the product. However, organizations can often conduct research to determine more specifically what their customer’s desire in their product.
Therefore, organizations should offer more value in their products then what the customer might have originally expected. By exceeding the customer’s expectations the customer is satisfied with the product and may even be pleasantly surprised. However, when the customer expects some value and finds that the claims of the organization wildly over estimate its worth they are likely to be dissatisfied and not make another purchase.
Marketing and customer expectations should be in line. Advertising should not wildly claim what it cannot deliver. Certainly such wild claims may get an initial visitor but then the customer complaints, returns, etc…will start to pile up. Even worse the customers will not make additional purchases over their lifetimes and may even hammer the product in reviews. Customers need these lifetime purchases in order to survive.
Customers also have power over their mouths. When they receive a poor product or service they often complain to their friends about how they were taken advantage of. When this happens friends perceive this as testimony and it can sway a customer’s decision significantly. However, when the product or service is strong a positive customer impression can have a significant impact on purchases by friends. Some companies base their marketing almost solely on word-of-mouth advertising.
There are a number of ways in which a company can exceed customer expectations. They can offer free additional bonuses with their product, they can individualize their services, they can go above expectations, or they can provide stronger product guarantees. The methods chosen will depend in part on the type of product or service as well as the capabilities of the company.
Knowing your product, understanding your company’s capabilities as well as have a strategy that is integrated throughout your organization is beneficial. The more aligned the organization is with customer needs the more likely they are going to exceed expectations. It is important to maintain these relationships so that your business can realize future profits with little capital outlay.