I was trying out a new product the other day, and got this flyer in the box. The product is called Gutter Brush, and the paper is titled “Happy Customer Guarantee”. I want to be a happy customer, and I want my customers to be happy, so it got my attention.
What really stood out, though, was the little yellow call-out box about halfway down the page. That yellow box is hugely important, and is the subject of this article.
The box reads, “Setting Expectations”, something every business person should strive to do. But I have never seen it so clearly expressed. Well done Gutter Brush.
So why is setting customer expectations such a big deal? Check out these 4 benefits:
1) You set yourself up for success.
There is an ancient Greek proverb which states: “The beginning is half the whole.” Setting expectations from the start not only protects you and your customer, it sends a powerful message: I am a pro and I know what I am doing. A project begun with this level of professionalism is much more likely to succeed.
2) You won’t make promises you can’t keep.
Even if you never actually make an unfounded promise, sometimes customers assume you agree to do something that you can’t do. It’s just a basic communication issue, but a huge one. Consumer loyalty is based entirely on trust, and trust is built by keeping promises. Breaking promises, even ones you didn’t make, is damaging in the end.
4) You get paid more.
Here’s how this goes: You strike an agreement with a customer that might have some gray areas in it. You want the work, so you don’t press the matter to clarify. You start work and then realize the customer expects something of you that you did not agree upon.
Now, you have two choices. You can stand your ground and force a renegotiation, or you can cave and do extra work for free. If you are like me and every other business person I know, you will probably cave to keep the customer, which means you will be doing extra work for no extra money.
Setting clear expectations and putting them in writing up front will ensure you get paid for only the agreed upon scope of work. Then, when customers want more, they pay more.
4) You are less likely to get screwed.
It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while you will encounter a customer who actually looks for holes in their agreement with you just to push for more than it allows. I’ve had this happen to me; it’s aggravating and difficult to undo if you don’t have something in writing that clearly sets expectations.
All of us want to be honest brokers. We strive to offer quality products and services at fair prices. Setting customer expectations early and often is a super way to ensure customer satisfaction and profitability for your business.
Thanks for reading.
Do you have any other suggestions for managing customer expectations? Please share in the comment section below!