The Importance Of Meeting Expectations

The Globe and Mail published an interesting article recently entitled Build your brand – but don’t forget to deliver an experience (needs subscription). The article relates how, by not fulfilling its promises to a customer, an auto dealer turned that them from "a walking brand builder for the manufacturer" into a dissatisfied customer.

The article outlines several reasons why today’s customers are a fickle lot:

  • Pressured for time
  • Starved for affinity relationships (successful companies are playing up the need to belong)
  • Jaded and sceptical
  • Short of money

It goes on to say that all this means that customers’ experiences are more important to your brand than ever. If you can’t match their expectations, you’re in trouble.

‘Gap theory’ says that closing five ‘service gaps’ is crucial to customer satisfaction (I still keep this book from my university days at work – it’s that relevant):

  1. Knowing what customers expect
  2. Setting adequate service standards
  3. Meeting those service standards
  4. Matching your service to your promises
  5. Ensuring customers’ perceptions of your service match their expectations

Looking at that the list, the importance of public relations and marketing leaps out at you. What’s more, the rise of new media puts this at the forefront of your organization’s reputation.

The old saying goes, "A happy customer will tell one person. An unhappy customer will tell 10 people." Nowadays, an unhappy customer can tell hundreds or thousand of friends with the click of a mouse.

A failure to match what people expect with what they get can be disastrous for your brand. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

As the article says, "What is the dollar value of delivering an experience that consistently produces brand boosters and eliminates brand blasters?"

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.