Managing Expectations

Our daughter recently had a partially fallen tree removed from her yard. The remainder threatened to hit the house if it, too, fell unexpectedly.

Before beginning, one of the arborists asked, “How attached are you to that big bush next to the tree we are removing? I’ve had some jobs where I’ve been so careful to preserve nearby shrubbery, only to learn later that the homeowner was going to remove it anyway!”

Elisa explained that they were very fond of that dogwood bush, and the crew was great. They successfully removed the remains of the big white pine without harming the bush next to it.

The tree guy essentially let her know that they could be very careful and preserve that piece, or, they could be less careful and work more easily if she didn’t care about that piece. He was intent on managing both her expectations as well as his own! And neither one of them had to deal with unexpected surprises….

How well do you and/or your staff manage customer expectations? Do your customers know what to expect when they deal with you and your company or department? Do they know who from your staff will be involved? Do they know in advance of any prep work they, themselves, will need to do?

Although in many cases, each customer interaction may be unique, process charts and checklists will go a long way to help both your customer and your staff understand exactly what must happen to ensure a positive interaction every time!