Customer Expectations You Can Ignore


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In a few previous posts on customer experience, I’ve harped on the importance of setting and managing customer expectations. Expectations are created through our communications and past performances. They are a foundational part in the customer’s perception of our business and the value we create.

Several people have questioned me about expectations that are out of our control. Things like the customer’s mood or past experiences with other vendors can greatly affect a customer’s perception, but are ultimately out of a company’s control. My response was to simply ignore them. If you can’t control them, then why worry about them? There are more than enough things we can control that need our attention, right?

This point was driven home the other day when I brought my own (unwarranted) expectations to Las Vegas. I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express the week before (different city) and enjoyed free Wi-Fi during my stay. When I arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel, which is quite an upgrade from the HIE, I expected to have free Wi-Fi there as well. There wasn’t any particular reason I was expecting free Wi-Fi; the Hard Rock certainly didn’t set the expectation that Wi-Fi would be free, or even available. Nevertheless, I was a little shocked when they wanted to charge me $20 per day, so I did what any brazen blogger does these days, I sent out a tweet.

customer expectations tweet

A couple of people responded (follow John and Matt if you don’t already), which got me thinking about my expectations. Were they valid? Even if they were, should the Hard Rock do anything about them? What I ended up figuring out is that the Holiday Inn Express and Hard Rock are both doing exactly what they need to do.

Know Thy Business

The HIE is geared towards business travelers. They serve a hot breakfast in the morning and provide Wi-Fi free of charge. Their sole source of revenue is the room charge, and they make sure they provide great value with it.

The Hard Rock is geared towards vacation and entertainment. No free breakfast. No free Wi-Fi. Not even free coffee. They probably lose their ass on the hotel rooms. They’re betting on you, well, betting in the casino. And eating in the restaurants. And relaxing in the spa. Their goal is to get you in the hotel and then make sure you never see your room.

Both are hotels, but they’re very different businesses. Each one understands its core business and what it needs to excel at in order to remain profitable. One wants customers that value a reliable room with free amenities. The other wants customers that value entertainment and luxuries. The Hard Rock didn’t set my expectation and they certainly didn’t want to live up to it, which is exactly what they should be doing.

The bottom line? Customer expectations are incredibly important, but you have to focus on the ones you can control. Ignore the ones you can’t.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tim Sanchez
ABIS Consulting Group
Tim Sanchez is dedicated to promoting remarkable customer experiences through leadership and personal development.


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