Expectations come from somewhere. Think back to your personal life and consider a time where your expectations were misaligned with the experience outcome. What did you do? How did the other party make things right? Did you walk away feeling good about your experience?

The gap between the delivery of the experience and the expectation of the experience comes from one thing, and one thing only:

expectations were not set clearly upfront.

The only way to avoid the dark fate of under delivering on someone else’s expectations is to agree on what they should be from the beginning.

This may be a lofty goal. Lofty, but attainable. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  • Identify a few quick wins to set a precedence for your work. Don’t dive into the big issues first. Instill a vote of confidence in your peers by starting with the small stuff. This can oftentimes be as simple as helping to streamline a process or mediating a conversation with a fresh perspective.
  • Select opportunities that can show immediate impact to the business. For instance, we added a message to the off-hours phone message stating Customer Care’s business hours, and overnight nulled out the number of disgruntled voicemails waiting for the first shift of our team. Quick, simple, and free solution that sets the right expectation upfront.
  • Measure for confidence. You probably don’t know what expectation you should be setting for a few things. Measure key metrics like support turnaround time, average sale, customer satisfaction or NPS score, average length of sales cycle, etc… Select 3-5 metrics that are key to your business and start measuring them. Using SurveyMonkey, we now know that 99% of customers are very satisfied with the Overall Experience, and 97% would recommend or have recommended the service to their peers. Without creating benchmarks, you’re playing a guessing game. We’ve also received some fantastic feedback from customers on where we can do better, which is arguably more valuable. Once you have benchmarks in place for the key metrics, you can then start holding yourself to maintaining or doing better.
  • Take a look at how you can use the tools you have today better. Perhaps now that you’ve set and reset some expectations based on what you can confidently deliver, start looking at how you can do a little better by improving how you use the tools you already have.

Setting expectations on the kind of experience you are capable of delivering is mission critical to having happy customers. It’s an ongoing process, but definitely worth doing.

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