How to exceed customer expectations and why you should do it

Exceeding customer expectations

Going that bit further when things go wrong

Not so long ago, I had a problem with my Tesco grocery collection which created a lot of inconvenience and caused me to complain to the local store. Being a best-selling author and consumer journalist I know how to complain and do so for others and myself on a regular basis. Usually this results in financial redress for being out of pocket. Those I complain for are not surprised by this.

However, on this occasion, the manager came round with all the goodies in the picture below. I was overwhelmed. It was such a lovely surprise. These kind of gestures are always well received. It’s the surprise and thought taken that is appreciated, which surpasses any financial redress.

Flowers chocolates sweets champagneA Tesco spokesperson said: “Our aim is to always provide the best possible service and experience to our customers and when we can, we will go above and beyond.”

The benefits from exceeding a customer’s expectation when they complain.

This resulted in my feeling much more positive about the experience. I’m not even sure I remember the details of the issue now, but I do remember how I felt receiving the gifts. That’s what you want to do, make your customers feel positive thoughts about your company and regain trust.

The January 2019 UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKSI) state of customer satisfaction in the UK showed that:

“The relatively low average score for complaint handling underlines its perennial importance for customer satisfaction. Only complaints that receive excellent satisfaction scores (a 9 or 10 out of 10) are likely to boost overall customer satisfaction. Most customer problems that become complaints, even those handled better than average, are likely to impair customer satisfaction. This suggests that one of the most significant actions organisations can undertake to improve satisfaction is to understand the root cause of problems for customers and prevent them from occurring.”

This shows that how you handle complaints is vitally important for your business. Unless the customer service they always receive has been excellent you have to work to ensure that you retain your customers’ business.

An example of exceeding expectations for already loyal customers

Our family have holidayed in a lovely hotel in Majorca, part of the Fergus chain, a few times. Last year they gave us a free surprise upgrade on arrival. This makes for many, many Brownie points in my view. It was the 2nd or 3rd best room in the whole place! It was big and the balcony huge so we could spend lots of time on our own on the balcony soaking up the rays! That was inbetween partaking of the great food and drink! It is my 11 year old son’s favourite place and he’s been lucky enough to go to lots of places!

Earlier this year I wrote to the Managing Director, Bernat Vicens, and asked for a discount on that same room. I expected someone from his office to offer a standard figure discount and crossed my fingers that it would be a good one! Nope. Bernat himself corresponded with me. I was offered the best MASSIVE suite in the hotel for the price of what we usually paid for the normal room! The Presidential Suite. In the picture it is the top one with a balcony.

Balconies of hotel

It was for the May half term and we booked in March. Therefore there would have been plenty of time for someone else to have snapped up this room. In fact, when we stayed the hotel was full. The MD clearly valued our custom.

He wasn’t to know of course that I would share it as one of my best experiences of exceeding customer expectations ever, but most people would certainly share such stories. It was, in fact, one of my most engaged with posts on LinkedIn.

Bernat responded to my thanks and praise with “thanks for your kind words! our pleasure to make you feel at home” The thread was full of partners and others praising this service.

We had the most fantastic time and really didn’t want to leave! This was pure fantastic and genuine wonderful customer service and was the best offer I have ever received from a company.

Most of the time you don’t know who your customers are or what they do for a living. But if you treat all your customers like this you retain loyalty and could gain other benefits too. Such as customers giving you the best free advertising!

Exceeding expectations for new customers

Cards on The Table training and customer service

Making customers feel valued

The two examples above made me feel highly valued! Both were worth far more than any financial redress or discount and these extra thoughts and actions went a long way with me. The Tesco story was some time ago but I have never forgotten it.

I have since complained to Tesco many times about other issues (See Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion) and received financial redress for the faulty groceries or whatever but can’t remember them. I will always remember the above example though. Despite being The Complaining Cow, it is the exceeding expectation stories that I prefer to share to spread the word and inspire other companies!

As for the holiday, there is one negative. The family and I are down in the dumps now. It’s September, it’s cold and we want to be in Majorca! More specifically we want to be in our apartment at the Fergus Style Cala Blanca Suites! (My 11 year old has already said he is going to work hard at school and buy it!) It is outside of our price range for a holiday to ever do it again but if you make your loyal customers feel like we did, you know you couldn’t possibly have done more for them or your business.

How to exceed customer expectations

And see that wristband in the video? That was from the hotel in Majorca, he kept it on for weeks, it was purple!

The future for your company

How do you exceed your customers’ expectations?

Increase sales through exceeding expectations

If you would like to find out more about improving complaint handling and customer service see Services.

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

Customer Service how to turn customers into superfans raving about your products/services

The Complaining Cow Services

To see how The Complaining Cow can help you improve your customer service see Services.

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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

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