In todayâ€™s ultra competitive business environment merely meeting customer expectations is not enough. In order to effectively differentiate themselves from the competition, service providers need to focus on exceeding customer expectations to create customer delight and create a pool of loyal customers. Therefore, when deciding on a service delivery design, it is imperative for the service provider to consider the targeted customer base and their needs and expectations. This will help in developing a service design that will help the provider to effectively manage customer expectations leading to customer delight.
Customer Needs and Expectations
Customer needs comprise the basic reason or requirement that prompts a customer to approach a service provider. For instance, a person visits a restaurant primarily for the food it serves. That is the customerâ€™s need. However, the customer expects polite staff, attentive yet non intrusive service and a pleasant ambience. If these expectations are not properly met the guest would leave the restaurant dissatisfied even if his basic requirement of a meal being served has been met. Thus knowing and understanding guest expectations is important for any service provider.
Customer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Delight
Based on the quality of the service experience a customer will either be satisfied, dissatisfied or delighted. Knowing a customerâ€™s expectation is instrumental in developing a strategy for meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Customer Dissatisfaction: This is a situation when the service delivery fails to match up to the customerâ€™s expectations. The customer does not perceive any value for money. Itâ€™s a moment of misery for the customer.
Customer Satisfaction: In this case, the service provider is able to match the customerâ€™s expectations and deliver a satisfactory experience. However, such a customer is not strongly attached to the bran and may easily shift to a competing brand for considerations of price or discounts and freebies.
Customer Delight: This is an ideal situation where the service provider is able to exceed the customerâ€™s expectations creating a Moment of Magic for the customer. Such customers bond with the brand, are regular and loyal and will not easily shift to other brands.
Meeting and Exceeding Customer Expectations
Exceeding customer expectations is all about creating that extra value for the customer. The hospitality industry specializes in creating customer delight.
Example, most 5 star hotels maintain customer databases detailing room order choices of their guests. So if a guest has asked for say orange juice to be kept in the mini bar in his room, the next time that he makes a reservation at the hotel, the staff ensures that the juice s already kept in the room. Such small gestures go a long way in making customers feel important and creating customer delight.
Another novel way of exceeding guest expectations is often demonstrated by travel companies. Since, they usually have details on their customersâ€™ birthdays, they often send out an email greeting to their guests to wish them. This not only makes an impact on the guest but also helps to keep the company acquire â€˜top of the mind recallâ€™ with the guest.