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Managing Customer Expectations

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Deidra Legend

Your customers know what they want. Sometimes they want a specific product at a great price. At other times they care more about excellence in customer service than they do about savings. They may be looking for quick shipping times, high-quality materials, or the ability to place custom orders. Customer expectations may vary, but your ability to meet those expectations should never falter.

Managing Customer Expectations Through Communication

How do you know what your customers want? Practice good communication. All staff should be trained to actively listen to customers in order to understand their specific needs. Effective communication enables you to meet and even exceed each customer's goal.

You can even go one step further by offering ease of communication. Instead of waiting for a phone call, have staff that can respond to text messages, social media contacts, or even live chats. Just make sure customers are given the full attention they are due. There is no easier way to lose a customer than to make them feel ignored.

Make Organization a Priority

Man using an organized inventory system

You cannot meet the needs of your customers if you are not organized. Make sure you have the right system to manage inventory, track orders, and follow-up with any customer questions or complaints. You may want to use a software system that is made specifically for managing point-of-sale and inventory. You may be satisfied with a spreadsheet. What matters is that you have a method of organization that works for you and your customers.

Part of the organization is having a detailed list of what is expected and when. Establish a set schedule for orders and deliveries. Make sure customer orders are trackable so they will know where their orders are at any given point and when they will receive their products. Likewise, make a schedule for following up with clients to ensure customer satisfaction.

Provide Easy Customer Service Avenues

Woman working as a customer service

The biggest complaint most customers have is a lack of adequate customer support. Clients expect businesses to quickly and easily manage any problems as they arise. Customers may set their expectations high in this regard, but building a good customer relationship in the face of adversity does not need to be difficult. In fact, sometimes an error in product or service is the best thing to prove to your customers just how great it is to do business with you!

Expectations management includes your response to errors, which can be somewhat simple. Unsure how to keep your customers happy? Follow these five easy steps.

1. Be Available

Always have an avenue that customers can reach for problems. Provide a phone number, email, and text messaging for customer complaints, questions, and concerns.

2. Accept Responsibility

Take an apologetic stance from the beginning, even if the issue is out of your hands. Accept responsibility for whatever the problem may be by telling the customer you will work your hardest to rectify the situation.

3. Empathize

Try to understand the problem from the customer's point-of-view. No matter how angry or upset they are, they may have good reason to be so. Don't take their frustration personally. Instead, try to feel it yourself so that you can establish a...

4. Plan of Action

Figure out the problem and detail exactly how that issue will be solved. If you don't know immediately what the solution will be you can tell your customer exactly how you are going to find the answers.

5. Follow Through

It's not enough to temporarily placate a customer. You must follow through on any of your promises. Likewise, continually update the customer until the situation is resolved. It is always better to over-communicate than to leave a client wondering if they've been forgotten.

Set Realistic Goals

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Sometimes customers have unrealistic expectations. For instance, they may expect your pallet yard to make a last-minute delivery for no additional charge to a hard-to-reach location. While it is in your best interest to provide excellent customer experience, you also need to fully explain why some expectations simply cannot be met.

Part of managing customer expectations is building trust. You can do this by being honest with your customers about what is reasonable and what is not. Making promises that you cannot keep will cause customers to take their business elsewhere. Instead of promising the impossible, make sure your customers' experiences are positive. The last thing they want is negative surprises.

Contact Pallet Market, Inc. today to request a quote for pallets and have all of your pallet questions answered.