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Tips for Managing Customer Expectations

Improve Customer Expectations with these Tips

In today's business culture, customer satisfaction should always be a priority. Customers today are more knowledgeable and have higher expectations than ever before. To achieve success, it is important for businesses to have an exceptional plan in place to be able to adequately manage customer expectations. It can often be the defining factor that makes or breaks a business. Quality customer relations practices are crucial to the success of any company. There are many facets that go into having a good plan for managing customer expectations.


In order to adequately manage customer expectations, it is important to prioritize the needs of the client. Everyone should be on the same page with regards to what the client expects of the business and what the business can promise to deliver. Every client will be different. Asking lots of questions is a great way to find out what the client is prioritizing as the most important required service. It is also good for the client representative to ask the customer what he/she expects from the business relationship. One of the best ways to make prioritizing easier is to get to know the client/customer. Customer services managers should try and understand the ins and outs of the client. They should understand the values of the client, what they are buying, and why they are buying it.

Effective Communication

Communication is key when it comes to effective customer expectation management. Having poor communication can be extremely frustrating for both the customer and the business. One great way to stay on top of communication is by establishing a set schedule in which the client can expect to hear from the business representative. The customer should know in advance how often the business will be in contact and during which times it is most convenient to be in touch. Changes in the schedule should be noted to the client in a timely manner. Having good communication between customer and business ensures that everyone is always on the same page, and it eliminates the possibility of negative surprises. It is also important to always be honest with the client. Even in circumstances where the service provided by the business has run into a flaw, representatives should always be upfront with the client. Owning up to mistakes and communicating a solution with the client is a way to establish trust. In some cases, establishing a call center is a great way to be available for the client.


Consistency is something that all customers expect. When services or goods change on a whim, the client can be left feeling dazed and confused. It is also a surefire way to lose any gained trust that has already been established. Maintaining consistency in client relations also helps the customer to manage their own expectations because they will always know what to expect. Listening to customer concerns and complaints will help to determine where inconsistencies occur and what the shortcomings are. Consistency builds trust and trust leads to long lasting business relationships.

Realistic Promises

Companies should not offer goods/services that they cannot deliver. It is important that a business understands how to say no to a customer. It is important to explain why the answer is no and communicate the reasoning behind the answer. The company does far more damage to trust and reputation by agreeing to provide a service that cannot be delivered. It is far better to under-promise and over-perform in order to keep control of customer expectations. Make promises that are realistic and achievable, and then go the distance to over-deliver on the promise. The customer will feel as if the business goes above and beyond for them, rather than feeling like a promise has come up short.


Staying organized will make all of these other tips easier to accomplish. Have a detailed list of all clients and needs in an easy to access place. The list should be easy to understand and kept up to date. The more organized the business is, the easier it will be to follow up with client needs, expectations, and deliverables. The list should also be coordinated with a time schedule so that agreed upon communication contact dates and times are never missed. The schedule will also help to ensure that goods or services are delivered at the appropriate and agreed upon time.

Resources for Further Reading

Principles of Good Customer Service

The Outside-In Approach to Customer Service

Social Media and Customer Service

Reverse Pricing: The Role of Customer Expectations – PDF

Meeting and Exceeding Customer Expectations Quiz

Turning Expectations Into Customer Satisfaction

Identifying and Managing Customer Expectations

Understanding Customer Needs and Managing the Customer Experience – PDF

Customer Service Communication Skills – PDF

Keeping promises: Closing the services gap


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