Exceed expectations?

If this questions was asked to me, I would usually respond affirmatively. Especially in the context of customer service - I wouldn't have thought there was an alternative!

You can imagine my surprise when my Google search responded with opinions that differed from mine. Here is a sampling -

  • "One who always exceeds expectations is a liar. He lies either in intentionally low-balling the expectations, or in exceeding his promise. Or both." -TrustedAdvisor
  • "So many companies boast they "exceed expectations" or "go beyond expectations." This is short-sighted for three reasons. First, customers are looking for companies to deliver exactly what they promise, not more, not less. Second, it sets up even greater grounds for dissatisfaction when companies fail to meet whatever promises they make. Finally, it is an unprofitable strategy. Customers vary in terms of profitability. Providing service above and beyond what a customer is worth in terms of profit does nothing but hurt the bottom line." -FusionBrand (do read some of the comments too)

It is not difficult to imagine an organization starting with too low a bar specifically to exceed expectations.

But I personally believe in exceeding expectations. I believe that by doing so, an organization not only manages to the deliver the much needed wow! factor (similar to Adrian Miller's view in the article on customerTHINK), but also raises the bar for itself. How? The next time a wowed customer interacts with you, you cannot wow them the same way. You need to have something new up your sleeve.

So sensitize your customer facing teams to the concept of exceeding expectations & how it can be delivered through non-earth-shattering means, and let them use their own creativity to find ways of doing so. If this becomes a part of your culture - you would've done a lot of good to your customer centricity journey.

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