Saying what you mean, setting expectations, and now we’re cooking

BBQ - Setting Expectations

Today I want to write about setting expectations. In the spring, I bought a gas BBQ from a website that allows you to buy appliances direct 😉 (not mentioning any names). I was pleased to see this as the title of an email they sent me, in conjunction with a popular Parcel Delivery company, “We’ll deliver your parcel TOMORROW” But all was not as it seems…

In my knowledge of English, ‘We’ll’ is a contraction of ‘We will’ so means a definite action. In the Cambridge learners dictionary it says “short for we shall or we will” but seemingly in the world of e-commerce it can mean; we may, we might, or as it turned out – we won’t, which is just confusing.

When I made the purchase, I wasn’t actually expecting my BBQ to be delivered the next day, but after receiving the email I made sure I was in to take delivery. The email went on to say that I would get a text message (Usually before 11am) to advise of a 1 hour delivery slot. When I didn’t get a text, I contacted the company and asked them, to be told that it wasn’t due to be delivered for another 3 days. The person I spoke to couldn’t seem to understand that getting an email the day before saying “We’ll deliver it tomorrow”, would lead me to believe that it was being delivered that day.

If you think I am being pedantic, you wouldn’t be the first – but in my book it is really important to set expectations and say what you mean. Especially when a customer has taken the decision to buy something from you. – It is ALL about the experience.

The disastrous buying experience actually didn’t end there. 3 days later when it did arrive and I started putting it together I saw there was a dent in it. I called Customer service and was offered a measly £10 discount. – No thanks you can come and take it away and deliver me a new one. Which they did, another 3 days later.

Now we’re cooking

All’s well that ends well, as they say… and we had some amazing weather over the summer, visiting nieces, from Korea and plenty of opportunity to grill.

Setting Expectations

So, the marketing angle? – Don’t just write the words, they have to be true… have meaning, and manage the expectations of the reader. It is often the one opportunity you have to make a ‘good’ first impression!

You can’t meet customer expectations if you don’t know what they want.

As the great Gary Halbert said “people don’t want to buy a hammer, they want to bang in a nail“. 

but it is more than that… Get specific!

You need to know exactly what it is your customers want. Do they really just want to bang in a nail? (that’s the problem they are trying to solve) sometimes they want a solution – to solve their problem – but that could be a rock… right, but mostly people want a good solution.

The only way to really know what your users want, or expect, is to ask them.

Most SaaS companies these days are familiar with the NPS – Net Promoter Score. – you can find more about that here…

And there are plenty of survey tools available to help you consult a large customer base.

But if you can’t match what your customers want (and let’s be honest, it sometimes feels like they want the moon on a stick!) all is not lost. If you are honest and you manage their expectations. More importantly, is what you’re offering really what they are going to get?

Can you guarantee next-day delivery or did you just include it to increase conversions? Or was it because you just copied the same email content for all orders, not really caring that it might not be true for a certain item? With all the automation technology available today, you can easily send specific emails, based on your customer’s purchase. And it really IS worth the effort.

The best way to manage customer expectations is to be honest. If you’re honest, the number of people who can complain when you fail to hit the mark, is greatly reduced. You’ll have less complaints, fewer negative reviews, and a happier customer base.

Simply put, it’s important to manage customer expectations so customers have a realistic view of what to expect, and therefore more likely to be happy (or even just okay) with the service they receive.