Customer Expectations: Meeting or Exceeding?

MX Bites / March 18, 2023

As a business owner or service provider, you may often hear the adage, “exceed customer expectations.” This phrase has become a widely repeated idea in the corporate world, with numerous businesses endeavoring to exceed expectations to satisfy their customers. While it is true that customer satisfaction is of prime importance, there is a different take on going beyond customer expectations, which is worth considering.

In this blog, we’ll explore whether businesses need to exceed customer expectations or whether meeting them is sufficient for a good experience.

What are customer expectations?

Customer expectations are simply the beliefs and assumptions customers have about the quality of your product or service established on previous experiences with your company, reviews they’ve read, or simply what they’ve heard from others. It can also be defined as a preconceived notion a customer may have about a brand, its product, or its service, through direct or indirect interaction. 

What does meeting customer expectations mean?

Meeting customer expectations is about delivering what you promised when you promised it. When you consistently meet customer expectations, you build trust with your customers. They know they can rely on you, which creates a sense of loyalty. 

Meeting customer expectations is also about understanding what your customers want. It’s crucial to listen to their feedback and make possible adjustments to your product or service accordingly.

Is exceeding expectations indispensable?

While it is true that exceeding customer expectations can create a positive impression, it’s not always needed. Sometimes it can be counterproductive. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. It can get expensive: Every business sets some budget aside to deal with customer grievances. Adhering to budgetary constraints is crucial for running a business effectively, and exceeding customer expectations may not always fit in the set budget because it might often need additional resources like staff and money, which may further increase the operating costs.
  2. It is unrealistic and impractical: It is humanly impossible to give customers everything they want. Therefore, it is essential to draw a boundary when needed because if you fail to do so, customers may become used to receiving more and expect the same level of service all the time. This is an unsustainable and impractical practice in the long run.
  3. It is redundant: Sometimes, trying too hard to please can get irritating for customers. When a customer comes to you with a concern, they ask what they want, and giving them that, is the only necessity.
  4. It is time-consuming: Consistently exceeding customer expectations can require going out of the way and be time-consuming, which can take away from other important business activities.
  5. It can lead to complacency: If companies consistently exceed customer expectations, they may become complacent and stop striving for improvement.
  6. It can be a distraction: There are many aspects to running a successful business and focusing just on exceeding customer expectations can distract from other important aspects of the company, such as product development, marketing, and financial management.
  7. It can lead to employee burnout: Going above and beyond for the customers may require employees to work more than they should, think creatively at all times, and overdeliver. This may be a good practice in times of need but if overdone, it may lead to employee burnout and increase the attrition rate.

Therefore, while there are certain benefits to exceeding customer expectations, it is unessential. Meeting customer expectations by delivering on time is enough to build loyalty. Additionally, trying to exceed expectations all the time can be expensive, unrealistic, time-consuming, and distracting. Instead, organizations should focus on understanding customer needs, attentively listening to customer feedback, and delivering a quality product or service that meets their demands.

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