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Customer Expectations & Temper Tantrums

I was looking at my 18month old son the other day and noticed that he’s started the phase of throwing temper tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants.  I began thinking why this might have started all of a sudden.

I think I worked out that now he understands more about his environment he wants more control over it. He also has more anger, or should I say frustration, in that he knows more about what is possible and what exactly he wants – in other words he has expectations. Sound familiar?

Our expectations of consumer goods and services are set all the time, indeed marketeers go out of their way to explain how you get “even more” with their companies offerings.  But Customer Service, unlike ever expanding expectations, has boundaries, and repeatedly crossing them to satisfy customer requests will loose companies money faster than water goes down a plug hole.

Defining those boundaries seems dangerous, we automatically think customers are like my son and don’t like hearing “no”.  In my experience that is not actually true, and everyone actually comes off better when this is done. Customers know what to expect from the customer service team and indeed know full-well that they’ll get what they pay for since  delivering fully-featured customer services is not cheap.  Of course another company is offering something you’re not for the same price, that another story.

Anyway, with solid expectations issues can be discussed and addressed in a very straight forward fashion, and solutions tend to be much faster due to less pushing and questioning to-and-fro.

Think about this next time a customer asks for something way beyond the normal boundaries of your service, simply be honest and explain why it’s not possible in a clear manner, and reset their expectations so that they don’t throw a tantrum the next time they don’t get what they think they have been sold!

Categories: Customer Service
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