Understanding Your Customer…and Delivering on Expectations

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
– Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO)

In every facet of our life, the customer must be understood so their needs can be met. Whether it is entertainment, education or a work setting, there is something that is delivered — a product, service or outcome – and with this delivery comes expectations.

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They DO expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”
– Don Porter (Managing Director, MSB)

If you are the “deliverer” of that content, you must gauge its reception in order to ensure expectations were fully met and take steps to maximize customer satisfaction. If your customer is left unsatisfied by what has been delivered, adjustments must be made or there are typically consequences such as lost productivity, revenue or business.

Here are some examples of adjustments that have been made within different industries to keep customers happy and coming back for more.


Convenience and User Friendly Online Interface

 The sports and entertainment customer – now more than ever – wants more “bang for their buck.” They don’t want to overpay for tickets or merchandise.

Amazon and Netflix reinvented the customer experience by focusing on a user friendly online experience and delivery of products at no (or minimal) charge. They remain in business by continually evolving the user experience to meet changing needs and expectations.

“Stone Age. Bronze Age. Iron Age. We define entire epics of humanity by the technology they use.”
– Reed Hastings (Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix)

Mobile apps such as Groupon and Stubhub were created to help with the convenience of buying and selling tickets and ensure that all intended audiences get the “deal” they were hoping for. In addition, kiosks have been set up in stadiums and movie theaters to choose seats, expedite the ticket purchasing process and improve flow of the lines into the event. Self-service stations have been set up at most events so customers can get refills of snacks and drinks on their own.


Sensitivity to Time Commitments for Entertainment and Learning

“I reject the notion that we can ‘educate fans’ to embrace the game as it’s currently played.”
– Bob Manfred (Major League Baseball Commissioner)

A long-standing complaint of professional baseball has been that games are too slow, having continued to creep up over 3-3.5 hours per game. To combat that problem, Major League Baseball has instituted a time limit between innings and each pitch, as well as limited the number of mound visits per game by the competing coaching staffs.

At all levels of education and training, more work and information has been pushed online to allow for self-study and expedited learning. The expectation that technology be incorporated into learning has resulted in changes to how teaching, training and interactions between the groups take place. In addition, virtual (and online or archived computer-based) training is replacing in-person training in certain instances to save time, streamline the assimilation process and reach people more quickly and easily. Learning Management Systems and online platforms like Teachable provide the framework to store content (curricula).

With these technological advances, it’s now easier to determine how students (or participants) are tracking (progressing) and whether “remedial” training or instruction needs to occur.

Something to consider is that we all have different learning styles and expectations which must be taken into account. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners all absorb information a different way, and these differences must be embraced.


Key to Delivering on Expectations

“Seek first to understand. Then to be understood.”
– Stephen Covey (former author and speaker)

Using a “trial and error” approach is a crucial aspect to fully assessing the needs, preferences and expectations of your customer, whether they are internal to your organization or external to it. Perfecting the “formula” will allow you to build upon the success of your product or service more easily.

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