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Exceeding Customer Expectations

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Ranganathan Jagannathan
General Manager - Projects

“Leave no customer behindâ€

I start this article with the quote by Sir Henry Ford: A business absolutely devoted to Customer Service Excellence will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.

Isn’t that a nice situation to be in?

In the previous post we looked at various aspects of customer expectations. Based on a study conducted by The Forum Corporation, it was identified that customers' experience can be described in terms of five dimensions viz., Reliability, Tangibles, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy. Here is a brief outline what it would mean in exceeding customer expectations, by applying these five dimensions:

Reliability
• To keep customers informed about when services will be performed
• To provide what was promised, dependably and accurately and
• To provide services right the first time, as per the timeline agreed with them

Tangibles
• To provide comfort to the users in terms of the physical facilities, equipment, tools and personal appearance
• To maintain professional conduct and
• To be prompt with meetings, follow-up on action items and its closure

Responsiveness
• To be willing to help customers
• To respond to customers' requests promptly and
• To go out of the way to make customers happy

Assurance
• To be courteous in a consistent manner and make users feel safe with the proposed changes
• To be able to convey trust and confidence and
• To be knowledgeable in addressing customer requirements and solving their business problems

Empathy
• To provide utmost care and individual attention to customers
• To have the customer's best interest at heart and bring this out in discussions with the users and
• To fully understand and appreciate the needs of their customers

While, Reliability is largely concerned with the service outcome the other four are more concerned with the service process. Thus, while Reliability is the most important dimension in meeting customer expectations, the “process dimensions†(especially Assurance, Responsiveness, and Empathy) are most important in exceeding customer expectations.

Here are some nice tips for managing customers’ expectations:
– Demonstrate Fair Play
– Be Reliable
– Manage Promises and honor commitments
– Leverage the Process Dimensions highlighted above
– Build Relationships
– Meet not only Stated Expectations, but also Implied expectations
– Customers are prized possessions just as any artwork is and should be treated delicately and served with delicacy!
– Pay attention to the details. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."

Ending this post with the below link to nice presentation on Customer Expectation Management by Terry Schurter, who states “Leave no customer behindâ€! -

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Understanding Customer Expectations
Prejudiced Thinking and Lateral Thinking

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