Setting Customer Expectations

diagram of customer needsWhen a company does what it says it is going to do then builds trust between the company and the customer. When a company fails to fulfill a promise, the opposite can happen. Recently, our local water supplier spent a couple of days in our road, dealing with a leak outside our house. When they departed, they left a lot of stones on the lawn, which would have been dangerous and would have blunted the blade on my lawnmower, had I not spent several minutes picking them up. It struck me as being very slovenly. However I received a very nice note through the door, explaining how much the company tries to improve the customer experience and inviting me to let them know if I was happy with their work. I therefore rang them to let them know about the stones on the lawn. Since I had removed the stones, there was no point in asking them to come back, so I just registered my comment and said there was no need to do any remedial work. However, the lady, who answered the phone, said that someone would phone me back after lunch. This did not happen, which annoyed me more than the original problem, because I felt that I had a promise that something would be done and it wasn’t. I had been encouraged by the first call to believe that the poor service was an exception but, having been let down by the lack of a call back, I rather believe that the poor service was not an exception. The lesson is, carry through on your promises.

Thank you to Keith for this week’s post.

Law Firms

PA VARecently I contacted a law firm to see if they could assist me with preparing some contracts.  I got through to the receptionist after the phone had been ringing for over a minute.  The receptionist said she would put me through to the person who could help me.  The person who answered the call said her name was “Sarah”.  Sarah did not sound very confident that she could assist with my enquiry.  What I found most concerning was that Sarah did not state her role or which department she worked in.  Therefore I had no idea of her expertise or qualifications or why she had been chosen as the person to assist me.  I think it is of high importance that the staff tell potential clients what their position is.  This would have set my expectations and left me feeling a lot more reassured.  I could have then either asked Sarah if I could to speak to a colleague with a higher level of expertise or I could have asked her the reasons for her hesitancy.  As it stood, I felt it would have been impolite to ask her position.  I did not feel confident in the company and so I decided not to proceed with their service.  I had the same issue when purchasing a property.  It was only right at the end of the process that I discovered that my solicitor was a trainee.  Had I known this from the start, I would have felt more grateful for the effort that he was making.  As it was, I had a perception that he was not taking my case as seriously as I would have expected from someone who had a higher level of experience.  The conclusion that I draw from this is that in potentially stressful situations it is important that clients understand the position and skills of the person with whom they are dealing.  This sets expectations from the start. Have you been in a similar situation?  Interested to hear your stories and comments below.