Setting Customer Expectations

Last week I went into a department store with my three kids in tow. All I needed was a watch battery, so I assumed that it would be a quick trip.

I went to the watch counter and nobody was there so I pressed the help button. An automated recording informed me that someone would be there in 60 seconds or less. I thought this was a great way to set expectations of when a customer would be assisted and improve the customer experience. Until it didn’t work.

After 4 minutes, I pushed the button again. Same automated voice stated someone would be there in 60 seconds or less. Not so much. Waited another 5 minutes and pushed the button. By this time, my 3 kids are getting almost more restless then me.

Setting customer expectations from the start is crucial in any business. While I’m sure the department store installed the recorded message with good intentions, it setup an opportunity for failure, rather then an opportunity for success. Too often, we forget how customers will respond and react to processes that are put in place.
Ways to ensure customers have a positive experience:





  • Engage current customers when creating new processes
  • Determine if there is a need for a change
  • Make it simple



To get a watch battery, I had to hunt down someone to assist me, but it wasn’t “their area.” So they had to find someone else.

Don’t make it difficult for your customers to give you their money.

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