Meeting expectations is the key to satisfying friends, family, colleagues, and employees.  Whether we talk about a company or an individual, experience teaches us that there is often a gap between what is promised and what is delivered and the difference can be expensive.

For example, a friend who travels a great deal forgot to pack a toothbrush.  She was pleased to see one of those “Forgot Something?” stickers on the mirror in her room.  The promise was that the hotel had your back if you had forgotten something simple like a toothbrush or toothpaste.  When she went back to the lobby, she stopped by the desk, explained her situation, and asked for a toothbrush. 

Responding without looking up, the desk attendant told her “Too bad.  We don’t have any here.”  When my friend told her about the mirror sticker, the attendant looked up and said “I know we don’t have any, we haven’t had any for quite some time.  There is a vending machine on the 2nd floor where you can buy one, or there is a drugstore a couple of blocks away.”  The conversation went downhill from there.  Another promise broken, another brand image tarnished.

As she worked with her clients the next morning, she told her toothbrush story.  Someone asked if she would mind naming the hotel and she did.  It seems one of those attending her meeting had been considering housing a group of influential customers and prospects at that hotel for an upcoming event.  Something as simple as a broken “we’ve got your back” promise resulted in a decision not to use that hotel. 

Financial cost:  $37,500.00.  Damage to reputation:  Priceless.   Lessons to be learned:  Simple.

  1. There is a price for not meeting expectations. 
  2. Expectations are mutual – a two way street, if you will.  There should be something of value for everyone, even if it’s only a toothbrush.
  3. Know enough about what’s important to your family members, your staff, and customers so that they can determine whether or not the extra effort or expense you want is worth it from their perspective. 
  4. Promise only what you can and are willing to deliver.  Don’t promise the moon if all you can afford to deliver is cheese.
  5. There is a reward for meeting expectations.  Marketers refer to the reward as “Raving Fans”.

You want to see an example of raving fans?  Spend a few minutes watching a sporting event.  Notice how many people are willing to paint themselves a variety of colors, masquerade as a team mascot (and pay for the opportunity to do so), and then talk about the experience the next day. 

You too can have raving fans.  The secret is in building trust; and that’s what we’ll talk about in the final blog of this series.  Stay tuned! 

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