Where Do Customers’ Expectations Come From?

In 2015 the focus for Customer Experiences is going to be around working with businesses to develop a customer experience that exceeds customers’ expectations.

How customers form their expectations of an experience that a business has committed to deliver is a question that’s not discussed a lot accept when working with our team to develop a customer experience strategy.

The three main ways a customer forms their expectations-

1) Brand marketing – Up until recently this was the way brands communicated the experience customers could expect when doing business with them.

Having effectively communicated their message, all customers needed to do was walk in the door and have their expectations at least met.

Unfortunately, what really happened was the experience got nowhere near meeting expectations and the result was disappointment, no business gained and a lot of negative word of mouth.

I still cringe when I see brand marketing that’s saying “and enjoy our world class customer service”

Why haven’t these people learnt we have been promised world class customer service many times and so many times we have been disappointed? This type of communication is no longer working- in fact it is more likely the reason that a customer will not even contemplate walking in the door.

Let’s be clear -in today’s competitive, customer savvy world you cannot promote great customer service experiences. Your customers have to have the experience and they will decide, based on how the experience stacked up against their expectation, if they will promote your business.

2) Past experiences– There are very few business interactions we go into as customers where we don’t have a very good idea of the experience we are going to have. Much of this is based on past or similar experiences.

I could just about tell you down to the very last detail the customer experience I’m going to have on my next visit to our local supermarket.

That’s a result of consistency. There has been very few times where my expectations have not been met. However those expectations have never been exceeded.

The reason I choose to do business with that supermarket is convenience. The other two supermarkets located a little further down the road can also meet my expectations.

3) Word of Mouth- Customer recommendation is today’s most powerful form of advertising.

Via social media, customers have the opportunity to communicate their thoughts and opinions to many.

Research has shown that customers are very unlikely to recommend a business that has only met their expectations and are more likely to comment on businesses that have not met their expectations.

The only way to ensure a customer will recommend a business is to consistently exceed their expectations.

How are customers rating your customer experience?

We find that most business have no idea how customers are rating their customer experience and just as many have no idea what their customers’ expectations actually are.

In today’s highly competitive and commoditised market just meeting customers’ expectations is no longer a viable goal. The bar has been raised. Exceeding customers’ expectations is what is now required to stand out from the crowd and business is struggling with this challenge.

Our customer experience development strategy was created to give business the opportunity to perform at this new level and as a result distance themselves from their competitors https://customerexperiences.co.nz/ced-customer-experience-development

In 2015 business must realise that in a world of excess, uniformity and repetition, people buy experiences, not products or services. When people feel good about their experiences, they will not only return but will tell their friends and many others via social media.


Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences a company that specialises in the development of high quality customer experiences.

For further information chris@customerexperiences.co.nz mb 027 2792360 www.customerexperiences.co.nz