Customers typically arrive at businesses with high expectations, particularly those with strong branding and a solid reputation. In this instance, whether or not they would become recurring customers depends on how well their expectations were satisfied at the time of patronage. This also means great brands must always satisfy customers and meet their expectations if they want to keep loyal customers. Unfortunately, this will not always be the case because there will be gaps between customer expectations and satisfaction. But what makes you stand tall is how you handle the gaps. Managing these expectations is one of the customer retention tactics that any business ought to use.
An increase in one-time patronage and low customer retention rates are indicators that customers’ expectations are not being met, which can damage a brand’s reputation. This is because it indicates that customers were initially drawn to certain aspects of the brand but lost interest in it after their initial purchase. This article was written to help you avoid this happening to your business in the future. Let’s look at what expectations mean for customers before moving on to the main topic.
Customer expectations could be described as a compass, directing customers through their interactions with your company. Usually, their expectations originate from a subject of interest, which births a strong emotion of attraction in them and drives them to make decisions. When customers are in that stage of attraction to a brand, they’ve already formed what they expect to get from their patronage. If they get a little less than they’re expecting, it causes dissatisfaction, which breaches trust and loyalty.
The solution here is to ensure that reality matches these expectations. When it works, you will almost certainly have satisfied and loyal consumers. However, what happens when you don’t meet customer expectations? You then have to learn to manage their expectations to meet their satisfaction.
There has to be a method for you to regain your reputation and keep your clients once it is discovered that you are ineffective at meeting their expectations. The following are tried-and-true methods for doing this:
Some customers have their hopes dashed because they have little knowledge about your product or service. Therefore, their dissatisfaction is not directly due to the inefficiency of the product but rather to their lack of knowledge about it. In this case, the responsibility is placed on you to clearly communicate with your customers about your products and services to help them get the best experience from them.
Every brand wants a “customer rush,” meaning they want a free flow of consistent patronage; therefore, they may be tempted to adopt marketing strategies that portray the wrong image of their brand by making unrealistic promises. This is the easiest way to lose customers and breach their trust. Instead, ensure your marketing strategies set realistic expectations for customers. Also, strive to exceed their expectations by providing additional value that will compliment the product or service and meet their needs. By doing this, it shows your level of commitment to your customers.
When you ask customers to give reviews about your products and services, it shows you care about their satisfaction and are actively seeking ways to improve your services. Therefore, after every patronage, appreciate your customers for their support and ask them how well it met their expectations. If they have positive feedback, encourage them to get complimentary products to support their recent purchases. However, if they have a negative response, promptly apologize about the issue and employ strategies to recover from the customer experience failure.
Clearly outline your scope of work or product features in contracts or project plans. Make sure the documents exactly represent the products you are offering. List the pricing for each product and subscription plan, and also ensure that customers are satisfied with the amount they are paying for each subscription package. When clients believe the value of the product is not consistent with the price, you may need to communicate with them and help them understand the benefit of the product to their business success. As a result, customers will be satisfied with the price they pay for your product.
Now that you’ve seen how detrimental it is for your business to fail to meet customer’s expectations, ensure that your branding is consistent at all touchpoints, including the websites, social media, customer services, etc. It helps to manage your customer expectations and reduce disappointments.
A significant gap between a brand’s customer satisfaction and expectations could arise for any company at any time. Even if this might happen frequently, it’s important to continuously manage expectations in order to lower dissatisfaction and increase customer retention. In order to make sure that customer satisfaction is as high as it can be, you should therefore constantly make an effort to check it and use the metrics mentioned above to manage it.