In the next segment of the Superfan Series, we discover the importance of exceeding your customers’ expectations to create an outstanding experience. Previously, Experience.com’s resident Customer Experience expert, Brittany Hodak, shared the power of connecting your story with your customers’ story. From there, we identified how to personalize the experience to meet the changing needs of your clients.
In this guide, we dive into the “E” in the S.U.P.E.R. system: exceed expectations. What does this mean? In today’s world, customers are expecting more than ever before, and you can’t afford to not focus on improving your customers’ experience. If you want to boost your reputation, referrals, and revenue, expectations are an essential piece of the experience puzzle.
How to Set and Manage Expectations
With 68% of customers willing to pay extra for a better experience, it’s never been more important to set and manage customer expectations. If you can exceed your customers’ expectations every time (or at least most of the time), they’ll continue to come back. Better yet, they’ll refer you to others in their circle.
Before you begin setting and managing expectations, you have to understand the competition. Your clients aren’t just comparing your experience with other providers in your industry. They’re comparing you to all other experiences they’ve had. An okay or average experience is no longer good enough.
With that in mind, how do you set expectations? To start, always be clear with your customers. Over-communicate and make sure you’re on the same page. Don’t assume your customers know what to expect. When you’re proactive about setting expectations, it’s much easier to meet (and exceed) them.
Finally, how do you know if your customers’ expectations were exceeded? It’s simple: ask them! At Experience.com, we love creating short campaign surveys along the customer journey to ensure we’re on the right track. Many professionals make the mistake of only asking about the experience at the end of the sales cycle. For some, this could be weeks or months after you initially started working with someone.
When you ask about the experience at the very end, you don’t have the chance to improve as you go. Remember the Platinum Rule? You always want to treat others the way they want to be treated. This means checking in with your clients regularly, whether through a formal survey or a call, text, or email. Communication is always key.
Go Above and Beyond Before, During, and After
Next, how do you not only manage expectations but exceed them? In many professional services, experience snags happen along the way. For example, it’s not uncommon for a customer to experience a setback when passed through departments, or with the implementation of a new product. Creating a strategy in advance is very helpful to mitigate any potential problems.
Moreover, it’s important that you not only manage expectations during your transaction. You also need to be proactive before and after. Every stage matters when it comes to the overall experience, and this is a powerful way to stand out.
How do you stay mindful before, during, and after?
- Checklist: Start with clear, specific checklists. These are free and easy. Include reminders of important actions to take at every step in the customer journey.
- Intention: Consider what your customers are currently experiencing with your process. How can you do more? How are other brands and professionals exceeding expectations?
- Communication: Always communicate efficiently and clearly with clients, keeping in mind their favorite way to stay in touch. When you communicate, you not only have a chance to improve, but you guarantee you’re on the same page.
In many professional services, a good majority of your attention is given during the activity. If you’re in real estate, for example, you typically focus on helping your client shop for a house. It’s easier to ignore the time before the home shopping starts, but this is where you can actively attract clients. Similarly, what happens after you’ve closed the sale? This is when you need to lean in and let referrals, reviews, and feedback be the center of your attention.
Above all, people remember experiences that exceed their expectations. When they have a great experience with your business, they’ll tell their friends, write reviews, and become superfans. Though it takes a bit of planning and management long-term, this is an investment in your customer experience that truly pays off.
Create a Lasting Impression
Ultimately, when you exceed expectations, you leave a lasting impression on your clients. While an average experience is forgetful, an amazing one is worth sharing. To take your strategy to the next level, download the Superfans Playbook and create your own experience checklists for your entire customer journey.
Join us for the final installment in the Superfan Series to learn about the “R” in the S.U.P.E.R. System. We’ll discuss how to repeat everything we’ve learned to effectively build your reputation. By repeating the S.U.P.E.R. system, you make it a foundational part of your business and create lasting superfans.Access Superfan Series