Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Deep Relationship Between Expectations, Experience and Your Business Success

Can you imagine what would happen if the guy on the picture wanted to put the car he's driving in front of the horses pulling it?

Well, the result is obvious: The car would not continue to move and it would be a disaster. Horses should always be ahead of the car, and the car will always move in the direction the horses are pulling it. If you change the order, it's not going to happen and there are not more options for you to choose.

When it comes to your business, it’s the same: your customer's experience is the engine that drives everything. If your customers have a positive experience with your product, everything works great, your business portfolio grows and you make money.

If, however, their experience is negative, then you can imagine the scenario: Customers won’t buy, your customer base won’t grow, sales will stall, and the rest is well known by all of us.

Therefore, all your efforts should be aimed at ensuring the best possible experience for your customers, both online and offline. All elements must be aligned towards achieving the same goal, and that is obvious.

The horses always in front of the car. Your customers’ satisfaction alway on top of your strategy.

No matter that your site appears among top 10 on Google’s SERP, or you're receiving a lot of RT's for your campaigns on Twitter, or many "Likes" on your Facebook page. If all those actions are not aligned with generating the best shopping experience possible for your customers, everything will be worthless.

But where do you start from?

Start by creating real expectations.

Usually, as a simple way to differentiate a product from its competition, we commonly use advertising resources such as saying "this product is the best", "number 1", "your satisfaction is guaranteed", "we offer an unbeatable price "and so on.

Going further, product use and features are often associated with achieving certain, more subjective things, such as happiness, success, professional achievements, beauty, pleasure, etc..

And since each person is free to talk and write about its product the way it think is best, about that I'm not going to say anything. You can continue to promote your product using the arguments and styles you want and consider more convenient to you. I’m simply going to offer you one recommendation:

Whatever you write or say, make sure your product does what you say it does and that your client is going to achieve, in a clear and verifiable way, the things you say it will achieve. It's as simple as that. Nothing more, nothing less.

It happened to me recently that I suddenly felt the need to play Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, as I had done before for many years. Following the usual steps, I googled it, clicked on the initial results, which led me to Softonic where I found a link to download a demo package for the game in a very simple way, without further delays, and I was promised “I would enjoy a complete gaming experience without having to buy the full version of the package”, which was good enough for me.

I followed the instructions on the screen, I downloaded the program, I opened it, I installed it and tried to get the demonstration running, but couldn’t do it. Without letting myself be dominated by my own frustration, I did try again. I did the same search, I chose another link provided on the same site, I downloaded the file, installed it, tried to open it and, again, nothing. Zero.

I did the same thing at least three more times, until I finally gave up. I had such a sense of frustration that I simply uninstalled everything I had installed on my computer by that time, delete the application icon that was created on my desktop and I threw it away.

And I just moved on. The experience was negative enough to me as to make me even give up on my desire to play the game again.

Customer service: Vitally important for your business success.

There is only one way you can find out if a client of yours has had a positive or negative experience with your company, its products or services, and that is through your customer service representatives, before, during and after the sale takes place. Some people refer to it as "active listening" throughout the sales cycle.

That’s why you have to make sure to offer your clients a clear path to get in touch with your company at all times, before, during and after the sale as I said before. You can also be a little bit more proactive and get in contact with them in certain cases. That would be your choice.

The point is to give your clients the opportunity to solve any doubts, request any information needed to make the purchase decision, and make the entire decision making process as simple, friendly and memorable as possible, and above all, when the sale is finally closed, to make sure your product completely fills your clients’ expectations.

The process can be narrowed down to a very simple statement.

Offer your customers something real they can truly expect from your product, create an expectation you know your product will meet satisfactorily. Then make sure those expectations are fulfilled on your customer side, throughout the whole purchase process.

The Deep Relationship between Expectations, Experience and Success

Why not I mention anywhere the word "Success", as I did in this post title? Because I personally think "success" is not something that you can actually “achieve by doing this or that” instead I feel it’s the ending result of many things done properly which lead to a satisfied customer.

However, the relationship between the three elements is undeniable: Create in your customers, expectations that you can deliver successfully and widely, and guarantee a positive experience for them. If you can make this happen, your business’ success will come as a natural consequence.

As soon as one of the three fails, either you're creating exaggerated expectations for your product or impossible to meet and verify, or you are generating for your customer a mediocre or negative shopping experience, the balance between expectations and customer experience breaks down and the possibility of success for your business disappears.

Photo Credit: © Robert Harding / Corbis

Related post in this blog:
How important is what your customer experiences with your product?

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