What Do You Want From Me?
Over the Labor Day weekend, my wife and I were able to take a mini-vacation to the east coast. When we arrived at the car rental counter, they did not have the vehicle I was promised. This did not make me happy. My wife said, “Relax, it’s no big deal.” During the weekend, we were having a nice dinner. But then the server was nonexistent for us and the tables around us causing my wife, uncharacteristically, to summon the manager and complain. I smiled and said, “Relax, it’s no big deal.” (Men, that’s not a recommended strategy :)) In both cases, the issue was our expectations were not met. A positive customer experience and a negative one are both caused by our expectations.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
Whether we recognize it or not, our expectations have changed. Part of this is due to technology, part of this is due to the competition increasing standards. Either way, our expectations and the expectations of our customers have increased – a lot. We all expect, or dare I say, demand more. This raises two very important questions:
1. Do you know what your customers expect of you?
2. Are you exceeding those expectations?
The research is quite clear. Happy, satisfied customers buy more, buy longer, renew more and are more loyal than unhappy customers. Hello, Captain Obvious, right?
There are simple questions that must be asked with every client engagement:
How will you be measuring the success of this investment?
How will we know this is working?
What do you expect from me and my company when we do this?
The reality is clients who invest money with us have answers to those questions whether we ask or not. Think about it from your perspective, whether it’s a rental car, a meal or another type of purchase, don’t you go into it with a set of expectations? Of course, we all do. But how many of us tell the people we are buying from what we expect of the purchase?
Clients are no different. They have a set of expectations, and if we haven’t clearly identified them, we are in danger of not exceeding them, or at the very least meeting them. This week, start with your top clients. (Assuming you haven’t asked, because most don’t.) Ask them how they measure the success of their investment with you. You could go further and ask them when they buy from you what they expect from you and your company. The answers to these questions will provide focus or further discussion. Either way, it leads to a greater understanding and shows your client that you really care about their business. Asking these questions can avoid the number one prospect objection: I tried radio once, and it didn’t work.”
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.