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The Intuitive Customer - Helping You Improve Your Customer Experience To Gain Growth

Apr 2, 2022

A common mistake organizations make with their experience is failing to understand customer expectations. This mistake will lead to customers feeling unhappy and disappointed—two emotions I guarantee won’t contribute to your customer-driven growth. 

Expectations are a form of Reference Point, which people use to compare and evaluate experiences. The expectations are rational, emotional, and sensory, and are an essential companion for customers as they walk your customer journey, making them essential for your Journey Map. 

What’s worse, we aren’t meeting customer expectations, at least not according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. On a recent podcast, we explored how the ACSI is showing poor outcomes for customer satisfaction over the last ten years, a time span that make it impossible just to blame the virus. 

In this episode, we talk about customer expectations and why so many companies get them wrong. We will also take a look at why we have expectations and where they originate, as well as the reasons we think this way. Perhaps most importantly, we will talk about how to avoid disappointing customers’ expectations when you present them your experience. 

Key Ideas to Improve your Customer Experience

Let me start by asking if you have ever been to the Congo? Most people haven’t. However, if I asked you what it might be like, what would you say? Some people might say they picture it to be a jungle country. They might use words like green, humid, or lush. Some might say dangerous or sweaty. 

However, in most cases, they don’t know any of this stuff is true. So, how did these images and adjectives get there? My guess is these descriptions come from books or movies people might have read or seen, or stories they heard over the years in school. This exercise demonstrates how customers’ expectations develop.  

Here are a few other key moments in the discussion:

  • 09:33  Ryan explains the theory behind why we need to draw upon our past experiences or construct ideas about new experiences as we go about our daily lives for comparison’s sake.
  • 11:32  Colin builds upon Ryan’s example about drawing upon experiences by pointing out that the past experience does not have to be in the same industry vertical to be the comparison. 
  • 15:13 Colin gets into the importance of understanding customers’ emotional expectations as well as their rational ones to deliver an experience that satisfies and delights them.    
  • 22:57   We talk about how customers’ expectations can change over time and can be reasonable, so it’s important not to blame your problems on unrealistic customer expectations.
  • 26:59   Colin and Ryan both share their practical advice on what to do about understanding customer expectations and how to apply it to the experience you deliver.    


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Customer Experience Information & Resources

LinkedIn recognizes Colin Shaw as one of the 'World's Top 150 Business Influencers.' As a result, he has 289,000 followers of his work. Shaw is Founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy LLC, which helps organizations unlock growth by discovering customers' hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($). The Financial Times selected Beyond Philosophy LLC as one of the best management consultancies for the last two years. Follow Colin on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Click here to learn more about Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University. 

Why Customers Buy: As an official "Influencer" on LinkedIn, Colin writes a regular newsletter on all things Customer Experience. Click here to join the other 22,000 subscribers. 

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