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With almost 100 books available on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and seemingly just as many software programs, CRM has one common goal – building a relationship and keeping it. Sales and Service is an expansive topic and is very uniquely defined by a respective product/service/company. We’ll briefly review the most important element and its core, which is managing expectations.
The basics: Who is your customer and what are their expectations? Are you meeting or exceeding expectations and how can you build a better relationship?
In an ever-changing landscape, with business conditions and market share constantly shifting, customers have more choices than ever before. They expect more because they see more, well-informed through resources such as the Internet and a constant ability to connect with each other. If that sounds somewhat intimidating, which it can be, Crossroad Business Consulting can help. On the other end, if you find this challenge exciting, then how can we leverage this as a chance for better business?
Our objective is to build a relationship strong enough to withstand competitive advancements, test your customer’s loyalty and your worth. Think of the process and pool of resources that’s needed to obtain a customer. Now, ask yourself if you’re using those same resources to retain that customer, build loyalty and ensure their happiness.
We establish expectations from the moment we wake up. We expect our shower water to be hot, we expect our favorite morning beverage to taste the same and we subliminally expect the sun to be shining. Sometimes these expectations are consciously established, but other times they aren’t. Conscious or not, it’s what happens when expectations are not met that we really have to think about.
Customer satisfaction, loyalty and strong relationships
are built by expectation management. Consumers
keep a subliminal log of expectation bytes
- moments when their
expectations were met - or
a revolving number
calculated on an expectation balance sheet.
One column when expectations were met, the other when they are not, totaling a satisfaction number or factor that has thresholds. The higher the quantity of bytes, the higher the probability of getting a returning customer, one that will make referrals to other customers and keep them loyal for life. The lower the number, the greater the probability of customer flight – or fright.
To illustrate, there are 32 expectation "bytes" that happen within the simple purchase of a cup of coffee. Starting when you drive in the parking lot +5 (inviting, clean and safe), to when you enter the building and undertake the process +17, (wait-time, greeting, transaction and product quality setting, atmosphere and exit experience(comfortable, clean and friendly) +10, totaling 32 for perfect. You get the point. There are 32 opportunities in one single example to build your brand up or break it down.
Cataloging these bytes is real and the reality is the more bites you have the stronger your brand is and the deeper the loyalty to your brand. This is not a new concept - far from it. It’s the very foundation that the franchise business model was built upon.
Staying on the coffee theme, will the expectations of a Starbucks customer differ from that of a Dunkin’ Donuts customer? Both businesses are basically built on the same product, but there are different expectations because each delivers to a different audience:
Starbucks Coffee-Currently 5.6 million fans on Facebook (approximately 11,100 US locations)
Dunkin’ Donuts-Currently 1.1 million fans on Facebook (approximately 6,400 US locations)
So, as outlined under Marketing, expectation management will always go back to knowing your audience. Who are they? What do they like, dislike? How do they prefer to communicate?
Don’t know? Then we’ll find the best way to ask them.