Peter Prevc finished in just fifth place

Igor PauletičSales

While Slovenian skier Žan Kranjec was excellent with his 16th place finish in Friday’s giant slalom under Vitranc two weeks ago, the same public viewed Slovenian ski jumper Peter Prevc’s performance in World cup ski jumping in Wisla as being just 5th.

Last week, Miha and I ordered food delivery to our office twice. Both times we had to wait 45 minutes until we were able to start eating. But one of those times, I had nothing nice to say to the delivery man, and the other time I thanked him. The difference was that the first time they said I would have to wait half an hour and the second time they said I would have to wait for about an hour, since they are swamped with orders. Same company, same delivery man, same phone operator – only our expectations were different. They exceeded them one time and failed to meet them the other time. But they were the ones who built them in the first place.

Customer satisfaction is being held hostage to the feeling of marginal usefulness.

Customer satisfaction is usually connected to their awareness or feeling of “overservice”. Sometimes you don’t have to do anything special to achieve it, and other times the customer didn’t feel it even if they got more than they were promised. I believe that such cases should not be attributed to the service team of the provider, the fault lies in marketing and sales. If we disregard recommendations by satisfied customers, marketing and sales are crucial for managing customer expectations.

Don’t make promises that you can't keep. Click To Tweet

The proof that customers don’t realistically evaluate the quality of service, and only evaluate marginal utility, can be found on Tripadvisor. Das ist Valter, a Balkan style fast food restaurant, is the second best rated restaurant in Kranj even though it is a fast food place. I‘m not even sure if it’s the best in town. If anyone called me and asked me where they could eat well in Kranj, I would definitely recommend at least 5 other places. The same goes for five star hotel ratings. How could such a hotel have a lower score than a hostel with dorm rooms if satisfaction scores were not a reflection of different expectations?

It is not enough to give more than you promised. You should give more than the customer expected.

The restaurant where we usually order a salad for lunch always provides free breadsticks with the salad. They are free of charge. Every single time. And you get them only with the delivery. If you order the same salad at their restaurant, they don’t serve the breadsticks. They are supposed to be overservice. Can you imagine how we’d feel if we didn’t get them all of a sudden? We would probably be disappointed. The breadsticks that were supposed to add value to the food delivery have lost that function a long time ago. We are not in the least bit surprised when we get them. We would be surprised if we didn’t get them. If they want to surprise us, they should change the extra item every time. The same amount of effort and cost would have a much greater effect on customer satisfaction and engagement. Only a slight modification of the current approach would be required.

Customer satisfaction mostly depends on your capacity to surpass the expectations. Click To Tweet

Customer expectation management is the hardest and most important thing that marketing and sales must consider.

Every now and then I come for a talk and some good wine with some of my friends in one of Kranj’s restaurants. When the chef comes to greet us (after two glasses), brings a little something from the kitchen and addresses us to try it, rate it and help him create a new dish for the spring tasting menu, there is nothing more they could have done. First, he exceeded our expectations and made us feel special. Second, he made the best possible promotion of the spring tasting menu and included us in the making of the product which gives us a genuine reason to ask our friends to try it. After all, we were a part of the story of his spring menu, and that is something we can brag about.

 

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About the Author

Igor Pauletič

Founder and CEO of FrodX, who uses his rich experience to assist customers to transfer the latest technological, operational, and social trends into their business operations. He mostly focuses on new product development, omnichannel sales architectures, and go-to-market strategies. As a team member, he fills the role of the idea generator and constantly challenges the status quo and established decision making patterns.