The Power of Expectations

By Jason Macedonia

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I recently stopped by for dinner at a favorite local burger joint in my hometown of Orlando, FL. The restaurant has always had an energetic and social atmosphere, attentive service and easily the best burgers in the southeast (second only to The Vortex in Atlanta). Upon entering, I could sense a change from the norm – nearly all the picnic-style tables were empty, the lights seemed low, the jukebox was turned down, and I didn’t recognize any of the servers with whom I’ve developed a friendship over the years. I sat down and ordered my favorite burger – a medium rare angus beef burger on a toasted pretzel bun with, avocado, bacon, fresh jalapeno straws, and both gouda and brie cheese. While I was very much in the mood for my burger, after eating and paying my tab I felt the experience wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, and it left me disappointed. I learned a few weeks later that the restaurant had opened a new location and the manager and most of the staff had moved over to establish operations there.

My expectations in visiting my favorite burger joint, which had been established over many outings of great food and environment set the tone for this most recent experience. If I had been a first-time customer, I might likely have left excited to have found the most delicious burger in town. As a seasoned patron, however, the delicious burger wasn’t enough to overcome the overall change in experience from what I knew was the norm – my expected experience.

Expectations are Foundational to Understanding the Customer’s Experience

Expectations shape a great deal of our experience as consumers of products and services. As companies large and small work to understand the customer experience and identify areas for improvement, most fail to consider the impact of expectations. Furthermore, the customer experience is largely shaped by the staff and employees of the organization who prepare and deliver the products and services we buy every day. For this reason, employee expectations can be as important as customer expectations when considering changes and improvements to impact the bottom line. Surprisingly, almost all surveys in both customer experience and employee engagement measurement programs fail to assess a respondent’s expectations, without which we fail to consider a critical component in understanding the context of an experience.

In their development of the now world-renowned American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), researchers from the University of Michigan in collaboration with the American Society for Quality established that expectations are foundational to understanding a customer’s experience. Traditionally, experience is measured exclusively by two components – process and outcomes.

  • Process measures typically focus on an assessment of a product or service itself, the organization’s delivery model, and other aspects of the business, such as environment.
  • Outcome measures include loyalty and endorsement (will the customer return and/or recommend the product or service), differentiation (to what extent does the customer feel the product or service was different from/better than other options in the market), and value (was Go to the full article.

    Source:: Business 2 Community

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