Your friend is raving about a movie his wife has dragged him to. He says he’s glad she insisted, because it turned out to be the best crime drama he’s seen in years. He’s so enthusiastic that you decide to see it, too. But you find the film is only so-so. The plot is predictable. The acting flat. The dialog stilted in places.
Why did you and your friend have such differing reactions to this film? Probably because of your expectations. Your friend, having been coerced into attending, began with negative expectations. He was surprised to find the film entertaining. You, on the other hand, were expecting “the best crime drama in years.” This film couldn’t live up to those expectations.
Customer service is much like that. Good or bad, all comes down to expectations, too.
It’s the reason better than average service turns new customers into evangelists for your company. It’s the reason they become less vocal over time, as this new, higher standard of service becomes their norm. They come to expect it.
It’s also the reason you should never advertise the little extras. Use these to surprise and delight your customer. Otherwise, they aren’t special. They’re merely what she expected.
And on those off days when everything goes wrong, and a new shopper’s expectations of average service are shattered by your lacklustre performance, it’s the reason she becomes a vigilante. Unfortunately, people who feel they’ve been wronged seem to hold grudges for a long time.
So here’s your reality. Every day you do business with someone for the first time. If they get what they expect, they won’t be commenting to anyone. It’s violation of expectations, for good or bad, that drive word of mouth.