The Customer Experience (PART 8)

The Customer Experience: How To Wow Your Customers (PART 8)

TRANSCRIPT: Alright, number four, we are going to manage expectations. Did you know that misaligned expectations are the number one cause of customer service issues? They really are. Misaligned expectations are where the customer expected this and you delivered this. You failed. What if the customer expected this and you delivered this? Aha, you win. When you get align expectations early, that’s the easiest way to avoid customer service issues.

Now, I love this sign, and I’ve seen it in dozens of places. I’ve seen it in a computer repair shop, I’ve seen it in a restaurant, I’ve seen it in lots of places. If you don’t have this sign but you are in a service business, download this sign, make copies of it, put it in a frame and put it all over your business, but this sets the expectations. We offer three kinds of service: good, cheap, fast, but you can only pick two. Good and cheap won’t be fast; fast and good won’t be cheap; cheap and fast won’t be good. This sets expectations, it also puts people in a good mood. It allows you to take your time if you are going to provide good service.

All right, when we talk about expectations and we talk about those, remember, those tiny hurdles and hassles, a lot of those are expectation things. See, if we can inform the customer in advance of these little hurdles and hassles, we can make their visit less contentious. I’ve just put away my credit card and the cashier asks, “Can I see your card?” It’s a minor thing but it’s an artificial hurdle that they created by not telling me in advance. I put my card in the chip reader and my card is in there, and nothing is happening and then they go, “Oh, we are not using chip yet.” Put a little sign on there, put tape over where I can’t use the chip reader.

How about this one? You are at the gas station and you keep trying to pump and you go inside and say, “Something is wrong with pump three.” They say, “Oh yeah, that pump is not working.” Put a bag over. You’ve seen it, they put the yellow bag over, you can’t even, you don’t even pull up. They did that because people will get mad that they didn’t know that the pump was broken until they got out of their car and found out.

How about this? You’re at a Mexican food restaurant and you say, “Oh, yes, and I’d like a side of guacamole and then they say, “Oh, sorry, we are out of guac.” Wait a minute, why don’t you tell me that when you first sit me down? Tell me the couple of things that you are out of so that you set my expectations. Then at the end of dinner, I put that American Express card on the tray and the waitress comes back and says, “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t take American Express.”

Let me know in advance, it’s easy to show me the ones that you take. It’s easy to show that you don’t take American Express. Tell me in advance. Again, these are tiny things, and you and your team were probably thinking, “Ah, Steve, you are crazy, those things don’t bother.” Yeah, they do. They bother people, those tiny little hurdles and hassles make the expectations misaligned.

Another expectation that we need to manage is your customer’s clock. See, your clock is different than the customer’s clock. Only the customer’s clock though is important. Your clock is not important. See, their clock is not reality either, their clock is in their head and it only has two settings: Right freaking now, and this is taking forever. Now earlier I said it’s not about speed. It’s not. It’s about managing their expectations on speed. That’s all it is when we talk about the customer clock.

Let me give you a couple real-world examples. Let me give you first one here. UPS store that’s near my house, had to drop off a package, it already had the label on it, they just needed to scan it and weigh it so that they could give me a receipt. Now they were busy, but as soon as I walk in, they greeted me immediately. Someone looked up and said, “Good morning, we’ll be right with you.” They looked me right in the eye, so I knew they were talking to me. This reset my clock. Now it took seven minutes from that time until I got helped. “Steve, seven minutes, that’s not bad.” No, it actually wasn’t bad because my clock was reset and I knew that they knew that I was there.

But imagine the opposite, imagine that I come in, and oh, by the way, UPS stores, they don’t have good lines. I came in, there were three people off to the side, I don’t remember who they were but I wasn’t sure that the people behind the counter would know that I was behind them, and what if somebody came in behind me, would they serve before me? This is a big deal to a customer.

Let’s imagine the opposite, I walk-in and no one ever says a word to me and it takes seven minutes before I get helped. I’m a little bit anxious. It’s not as good of an experience. They reset my clock, the customer’s clock is all that matters, not your clock, but it’s not about speed of service. It is truly about resetting my expectations.

The Gallup organization found that speed was not the largest driver for customer loyalty in fact. Customers were nine times more likely to be engaged with a brand when they evaluated the service as courteous, willing and helpful, just like my UPS store. They were courteous, they were willing, they were helpful, they weren’t fast and it didn’t matter.

Let me give you a second example on the customer clock. Another real-world example, my wife and I were driving down to Boise, Idaho. We were in North Idaho, we were driving down to Boise. We stopped in a small town café for a bite to eat. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday, we had 30 minutes to kill because we already had plans to meet someone down there at certain time. Now the place is fairly busy when we walked on, we found out pretty quickly they were understaffed. The manager is the one who seated us, and she told us about the packed house. Told us that the service would be incredibly slow, that the kitchen would be slow, but she kept us informed throughout.

Now I told you, we only had about 30 minutes to kill. We left that restaurant two hours later, we were satisfied, we were full, and I gave them a five star review online. Why? Because she managed my expectations, that’s why. Had they not said anything or had they tried to sugarcoat it, “Oh, we are going to be right with you.” “Oh, we are little backed up.” No, she gave us the down and dirty, so we were able to call ahead and tell people, we were going to be a little bit late. It was no big deal then. Again, she managed the customer clock. That’s the expectations. That’s managing expectations.