Managing customer expectations is a critical skill that requires more than just the best tools such as best call center software or excelling in the delivery of good quality work, through which both your company and your customers are satisfied.
Customer expectations are notions that are tied directly with the level of satisfaction your customer will receive from your ability to cater to their needs.
If your customer appears to be dissatisfied with the services provided by the company, a possible best place to start while looking for the possible causes is to check the way your Customer Service setup is architecture including tools such as your call center software before changing anything else.
If your performance has been a good one, it is an indication that all is alright with the customer’s level of expectation at the outset of the services that they want from the company.
At times, we have seen that even the best management consultants using the best call center management software often become so completely wrapped up in their own working methods and processes that they start losing the sight of the expectations their customer has for the particular agent’s work.
The key to providing services matching the customer expectations is to ask as many questions as possible. This is well supported with the help of call center software solutions since they allow forms and questionnaires to be read off, surveys taken, call recordings made available and studied, and reports generated.
By asking questions, you can help understand how much growth you want over a certain time period, or even a realistic percentage of growth that you can expect.
Once you’ve picked your communication of choice with your customers, you have to deal with how the recipient understands it.
We, as human beings, have different filters that really only let in certain information that we need or what we want to hear from other people.
We then impose a perception of the situation, solely based on the experiences we previously which helps in naturally developing a bias.
In order to eliminate this extreme grey area of understanding between what is conveyed, you should deploy a combination with forms of communication and then deliver to your listeners in the simplest way that is possible.
It is sometime inevitable that there are things that might go haywire and your customer ends up being unhappy. In these situations, it is important to sit back and place yourself in your customer’s position, and start asking yourself questions about what you would want if you were on the receiving end of the services that you are providing to your customers.
At times, this simple act can help you in pointing out what is wrong with your services. You might end up with the realization that when you are pondering over your actions, you haven’t actually communicated with your customers as much as you would like to be communicated with, if you are the customer purchasing products from your company.
It is also important not to get too caught up in the technical aspects of your job, which can lead you to forget or neglect the human service elements of the system completely.
There should be at least a minimal amount of balance between the technical expertise of the sales team and the dexterity of a good customer service paired with proper cloud call center software solutions.
These are tips that serve as the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the management of customer expectations, but they are simple and easy to execute at the same time to be applied to any point during the customer engagement.
Once you actually these into practice you can start noticing shared vision and a decent understanding of where things are ending up in and what needs to be changed to get to the end without any or minimal problems.
Consistency is another important aspect for you to create an unforgettable purchase experience. The rate of success or failure, is the metric that is used to determine whether or not a customer works with your company again or not.
Given below are certain tips that will help you maintain an awesome customer experience to help you establish your company.
They are some key universal points and a few simple reminders that will help you in managing the experience or help you in resetting the expectations with your customers:
1. It is important that you are completely frank with your customers about what they are expecting from your company and what your expectations in return should be.
You should get down with your customers and discuss with them what is actually achievable and what cannot be done by you and your firm.
If adequate time is given, especially if it is present to limit the amount of involvement your company will have and when you can be reached for setting up the boundaries in the beginning of the purchase deal.
You will definitely start to have a healthier relationship with your customers in general. Customers often ask when things will be done.
Keeping your customers as informed as possible while pertaining to the project status, it is necessary to give them a schedule, and then following that timetable no matter what happens.
If there are any problems, it is your duty to let them know as soon as you yourself find out about it, which will build customer trust.
2. Your customer may want you to perform tasks that you personally cannot perform or cannot deliver, or it might even be the time frame that can make you hesitant to take up on the deal.
Therefore, it is important not to promise things that you cannot deliver to your customers as this will ruin the reputation of the company.
Being honest with your customer will help you in building a reputation for your trustworthiness that will long outlive any disappointment that might occur.
3. It is rather important to be as sure as possible that both your representatives and your customers are on the same page when it comes to meeting their demands and expectations.
It is important not to make any assumptions. If you are talking on the phone in order to discuss any customer problem, take care to follow up with an email restating the key points of the conversation to prevent any future errors.
4. Never go way beyond the scope of the work with the customers, and if done so, it is important to realize it because it generally means that you have allowed them to take some sort of advantage of your company services.
The solution in this situation is to create several boundaries by saying no when it is necessary or even training customers what to expect by overtly stating it upfront and going no further than what is stated.
5. It is important to pick a great CRM with job-flow charts, something that will help you see exactly where your package is at any moment, with the click or touch of a button.
Doing so can be challenging but with the right tools it can be done. Doing a call center software pricing can help you pick out the best software for these jobs.
6. At any time, when you have a conversation with a customer, make it a point to send to them an email with your understanding and knowledge of what was discussed with the customer, the next steps that should be followed, and the outcomes that were decided. It will create fewer misunderstandings.
7. Putting together a data report for your customers that will reflect on what you accomplished for them and their accounts each month will solve your problems with customer expectations by providing a great report that will cover everything that they would ever want to know from you.
8. It is important to clearly define the outcome you and your agents are working toward, whether it is verbally or if in a contract, and make sure to clearly communicate it to the customer before any execution.
There should be transparency in the process and you and the customer should be aware of the outcome that your company is trying to achieve.
9. Your most important has to be managing your customers’ expectations in the correct manner. If they have expectations that are too high, and you can’t get them to agree to your time and processes of your company ethic, then you are probably wasting your time in favoring such customers.
When you are communicating with your customers and your team, take care to promise about 90 percent of what you assume can achievable, and nothing more. This will curb unrealistic expectations and provide better satisfaction.
10. No matter how much planning is done up front in a project, something will inevitably come up that goes against your prescribed process despite taking all precautions.
Rather than blaming the customer for this even if it their fault, take care to have a built-in coping system that will help with these changes.
11. Every customer will have their own idea about what they want from us. Most customers expect exponential growth in this process; however, some of their expectations may be unrealistic and go against the company’s better practices and policies. Ironing out immediately can help save time.
12. Frequent delivering clear details to inform the customer of what’s being worked on and what’s planned ahead will ensure that everyone’s on the same page at all times.
Getting the buy in from the customer is very important for the growth of business.
13. Avoiding month to month agreement should be an important step. If the service takes plenty of time to show the desired results, do not agree to month-to-month contracts.
It’s critical that you spend time upfront discussing how long it will take your company to show results. Remember that after a project is over, there is no one who will remember how many meetings you had with your customers or how many documents that you created, or even how fast you accomplished something.
But, be certain that your customers will always remember the experience you shared with them.
14. It is very important and essential to show them you care about their concerns and their purchases. From the very beginning of the deal between you and your customers, right at the onset of anything you’re about to do in relation to them, always make sure you care about it, and take time to show them that care.
Remember that the first and last impressions you leave on your customer’s mind are everything and it will set the tone for future working relationships between you and your customers.
It’s also flattering for the customer who has been taken care of. It does not matter how many awards your company has won or what the company did when you were involved; what really matters what you plan on doing right at that moment and what are your plans for the customers in the future.
Getting to know your customers outside of a business relationship is also very helpful in building a relationship. You can strike up a personal conversation when the appropriate to help you figure out what moves them and then you can start to understand their motivations, enabling you into turning them into loyal customers.
15. Work on building a proper amount of trust into your relationship with your customers. Trust is a delicate thing that you can lose it at any time and never get it back from your customers.
Saying what you mean, telling them what you plan to do and then taking care to follow it through will build trust. Make sure that everyone in your company and every customer understand why you are doing what you’re doing.
You should provide the background for the tasks you undertake. This will provide great transparency, and it will create a great buy-in to the work, giving value to the little things that help make everything else better for your customers and your company.
16. Communicate with your customers again and again throughout the transaction, especially if they are important customers.
This is the single most important point on this list. This is because of how we always present the information, and it is mostly subject to interpretation and your customer will absorb it in all sorts of ways that are different.
Some will decipher it contextually from the situation, others will move forward verbally. In some cases, they need it drawn out on a board for interpretation and some others will need to take their time with a particular email.
17. Never assume anything from any sort of dealing beforehand, as it will only complicate things and create unforeseen problem that will create problems between your company and the customer.
While you may think that after you have communicated everything clearly the communication ends there, but sometimes you can be wrong.
Customers and agents included can sometimes be really bad at the art of articulating exactly what they want from the purchase.
You must work hard in extracting all the meanings and then get to the bottom of what they’re really asking for. Otherwise they are bound to assume that you know what they want and then end up disappointed when you fail to deliver.
If there are any doubt about something in the process it can be interpreted in a variety of ways, therefore you should follow up and get a concrete, secure answer and avoid reading between the lines.
18. Be ready to agree to disagree with your customers whenever needed, even if that is quite confusing. You should agree on a strategy with your customers, or agree on similar goals, and agree on a timeline and expectations.
Disagreeing can also be helpful even if it looks intimidating at first, because it is not easy and no one wants to leave behind hard feelings with customers, but sometimes saying no is the only way to weed out profitable information from non-profitable ones.
It’s a necessary evil, that is needed in order to accomplish the things you have already started with your customer.
19. If the customer has hired you for your expertise in their interests, know that they also keep you around for your opinion on a particular topic to add to their experience.
As a representative of your company, you’re not outside of the politics and chains of command, therefore you have knowledge over the working within the company.
If there are some things that dont seem right between the company and the customer, be sure to speak up and clear the air.
The Case Study
We have provided you with a list of benefits that can be achieved with the desire to change the negative customer experiences to the positive ones in order to balance out the customer expectations for your company, but knowing about the benefits alone will not be enough to help your research, especially you are looking forward to start an effective system for better customer expectation in your call center business to achieve a positive growth for your company.
You need to be able to have a few examples and study their methods to increase your chances for a successful implementation of such a system that will change the expectation of your customers and help you in building a better business with great management of such expectations.
Only after a complete knowledge of the detailing of such work that is needed to be done and its benefit to the potential growth of the company can you take a call on deciding what to do and what mistakes you must avoid.
With this idea in mind, we present you with a case study, which will not only tell you the problem scenario that can be faced by the company but also the challenges that can come out of it.
In addition, we will also talk about the solutions that this particular company employed for the company as well as for the customers, and the results that came out of this particular case study
The case study in point is the popular electronics company, anonymously named KLL, and the efforts the company put in to turn the various negative feedback in to positives ones that helped them immensely in the longer run in managing the expectations of the customers.
The Problem Scenario
Established in 2004, KLL started out as a small company with a small group of staff members that took care of the customer side of things.
Though fairly trained the hard working employees were at loss as to how to maintain a positive balance of expectations versus reality with the customers till the very end of the transaction.
The challenges the company faced were multiple, mostly due to the smaller size of the company with a rapidly growing customer base. Here are few of the challenges that were faced by the company.
1. The smaller staff started working overtime in order to handle all the calls of the customers in time, reducing the quality of life related to the office hours.
2. Customers expected quick results without having any knowledge of the workings of the company, because of miscommunications between the company KLL and the customers.
3. The company often took up projects which they weren’t able to see through, due to the lack of automatic programs to keep track of the things they needed.
Here are the solutions that the company adopted:
1. Increased the number of staff working thus reducing the stress of the employees.
2. They stopped offering services that they weren’t quite able to complete within time.
3. They adopted better communications facility to stop with the misunderstandings between the two parties.
The company started to get back on track after the initial hiccups that they faced. They are working slowly and steadily to improve their company and now stands among the top rising electronics company in the world.
Like it is mentioned before, with consistent practice, you too can learn how to effectively balance customer expectations and help your company grow.