How many times have you had a conversation with a customer thinking one thing was going to happen only to find your expectations were misread? Establishing a strong up-front contract with the other person on what is to happen next is a good way of initially defining expectations.
The problem with many customer conversations is that both parties default to hear exactly what they want to hear, rather than what is being said. We call that ‘happy ears’. As an example, a customer might be told, “We can’t promise, but we’ll try to deliver on Thursday.” What do they hear? They drop words they don’t want and hear “We promise we’ll deliver it on Thursday.”
Failing to set initial expectations runs the risk of both you and the customer hearing what they want to hear rather than truly understanding what the other is saying. Once you set an up-front contract it's much easier to make sure the other person understands what he or she is agreeing to. One way to insure this is to “sum up” what you believe the next steps are, so that both of you are on the same page. “No mutual mystification” will save you countless hours in follow-up and managing other people’s expectations.
We can only control the language we use, the expectations that we manage, and the concise communication and agreements we get with customers. Be careful and clear in what you say so that clear expectations are set for all involved.
Your customer service team already has great relationships with your customers. But are they proactively working to increase your topline revenue? Unlock your customer service team's potential and grow your business without adding to your personnel or overhead.
Image Courtesy of Kristian Bjornard | flickr.com