Creating and managing customer expectations


My Tag watch started to lose time, so I took it to a local jewellers. They set my expectations well. They explained it needed a manufacturer service, and that it would be back in “as new” condition in 6 weeks. They even printed a contact name, number and the date it would be back on the receipt. And they said they would telephone me when it was back.

I was then a satisfied customer as I knew exactly what to expect – then it went downhill. Two days after the watch should have been back, I phoned and they said it would be another 2 weeks. Two weeks later I phoned again and they said it would be another 3 to 4 weeks at least.

At this point I turned from a satisfied customer to a complainant. I explained that I wasn’t happy with their level of service. They said it was nothing to do with them as their involvement ended when they sent it away.

Now this isn’t true – they had set my expectations, but had failed to manage them. Although there was a third party involved, a customer focused jeweller would have been:

  • tracking my watch,
  • phoning the manufacturer to check it would be back on time and
  • contacting me to apologise for and explain any delays.

An important aspect of customer journey mapping is to map the exceptions. When mapping a journey, at each customer touch point we ask – what if that doesn’t happen? Often the business doesn’t have a clear process in place for exceptions. Usually there are some key exceptions which you can plan for. You don’t need to think of every eventuality.

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