Are you meeting your customers’ service expectations?

One of the challenges that customer service professionals face on a daily basis is meeting customers’ service expectations. If you are a company that claims to have superior customer service, people will come to you with the expectation of receiving top-notch service. Nowadays, customers’ expectations are rising because companies are trying to find new ways to surprise and delight their customers.

Service expectations are going to vary from company to company. For example, the service you expect from McDonald’s is going to be much different from the service you may expect from a five-star restaurant.

So, what can you do to determine if you are meeting your customers’ service expectations?

The first thing you’ll want to do is identify the service expectations of your customers. Take some time to review marketing and service/product information for service promises that could play a big part in expectations. It’s also good to review the mission or vision statement of your company.

No matter what industry or company you work for, however, people are going to expect friendly service at the very least. They’re also going to expect courteous treatment and a sincere effort to help them with their needs.

As you’re interacting with customers, take note when someone mentions an opportunity where the company could improve. “I wish…” or “If only the company could…” are statements to look out for. You can also solicit customers for their feedback by asking them, “Is there anything we can do to make our service or product better?” Also, keep track of customer issues or problems. Oftentimes, you’ll come up with reoccurring problems that need to be addressed.

There will be times when you run into a customer whose service expectations are unreasonable. You’ve probably already received training on how to deal with angry or difficult customers, but there are rare times when you have to tell a customer “No” because what they are asking is beyond the scope of what you’re capable of doing. It’s like asking a baby toddler to build a highrise building when he only knows how to stack three wood blocks. If this is the case, simply apologize to the customer, “I’m sorry we can’t do this because…” Maybe your company just doesn’t have the technology or information to fulfill the customer’s needs.

By listening carefully to customers, continuously gathering feedback from them, and taking note of reoccurring issues, your company will be fully prepared to meet customers’ needs and expectations.

Maria Palma is a professional writer and entrepreneur who spent 13+ years in the retail service industry as a salesperson and manager before venturing out on her own and starting her own businesses. Maria is an artsy kinda gal whose life motto is, “Creating a beautiful world, one person at a time.” Find out more about Maria by visiting her main website, Salon de Maria.

One Response to “Are you meeting your customers’ service expectations?”

  1. Bill B said:

    Feb 22, 10 at 11:54 am

    There are the customer’s service expectations, then there is how the company chooses to meet those expectations.

    I think that the amount and scope of customer service a company is willing to give is proportional to the amount of resources they are able to commit and dependant on the philosophy of service they want to adopt. This will be different from company to company because the customers change. For example, where I work our customers are businesses rather than consumer. While some things are always the same, others differ.

    About resources – It makes no sense to decide what kind of service you are going to provide without deciding how much money you are willing to budget to achieve that kind of service, which means doing the work to figure out how much it will cost.

    About philosophy – Philosophy of service could be the difference between a call center and dedicated teams to particular customers or industries. It is also about how you measure good service. It is also about how you rank what is more important. Do you want problem solvers who might be a bit more difficult to reach on the phone (because they are solving problems) or people who are always available to answer the phone but not empowered or capable of a wide range of problem solving. Resources provide people and technology, but philosophy provides the mission statement and attitude of the organization.

    Finally, things are always changing so it is important to periodicaly re-evaluate how customer service is done and make proactive changes.

    Some companies don’t do the work of linking up how they service with what customers expect and it shows.