Have you ever received service from a company or person where they set an expectation for you too high and then didn’t deliver? They did not live up to their word and did not bring you the value they promised. Example: Your plumber says he can fix your leaky kitchen sink in 2 hours, and then spends the next three days coming and going from your home, leaving you hanging and without a functioning kitchen sink. Then he charges you full company rate for this poor service. How did that make you feel? How happy were you to give them your money? Would you refer them? Would you use them again? The obvious answer in most cases here is no.
How about this scenario: The company that serves you sets an expectation and meets and delivers on everything they promise. They did what they said they would do 100%. Example: You take your car in to get an oil change, they tell you 30 minutes. In 30 minutes your oil is changed you are on your way. How does this make you feel? Would you use them again? Refer them? Were you excited to give them your money? The first answer here seems obvious and seems like it would be “yes”. If you compare this scenario to the first, most of the time the answer here would be “yes”.
Here is the bigger question: Does meeting an expectation create long term loyalty? When your company sets an expectation and then meets it, that is good business. You have just created a nice transaction where your customer is happy and they give you their money. You did the job you said you would do for them. Now, look at this third scenario.
Have you ever received service where an expectation is set and then you are so blown away because not only are your expectations met, but then exceeded? You receive everything you were promised, plus an extra surprise? Example, your painter comes out to paint your child’s bedroom walls, tells you it will take one day. He comes out, paint the walls and it takes a day. While the painter is there, he notices that the lines you cut in the bathroom you painted were a little crooked. He grabs the touch up paint from the closet, touches up those lines free of charge and leaves the bathroom looking better than it did when he got there. WOW! Not only did he set and meet your expectations but he also over delivered. How did that make you feel? Would you use the painter again? Would you refer them? Were you happy to give them your money?
In business setting and not meeting expectations is obviously bad business. Setting and meeting expectations is good business. If you want to be remembered, create raving fans, have a strong loyal crowd refer you, talk about you and market for you, you must focus on the third scenario. You must not only set and meet, but exceed expectations.