When the Product or Service does not meet Customer Expectations

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Unhappy customers_Products or Service do not meet customer expectationsWhat do you do when the product or service does not meet customer expectations?  Before answering that questions, let’s go back to the beginning of the process.

Marketing must be an integral part of your business. If you’re not marketing, you’re out of business! You may be saying that’s not necessarily true because sales are what count…and that too is true. However, marketing is what allows you to inform others about your products and services and raise their awareness of the value your products and service bring.

“Marketing is what you say and how you say it when you want to explain how awesome your product is and why people should buy it.

Marketing is an ad. Marketing is a brochure. Marketing is a press release. And more recently, Marketing is a Facebook page or a Twitter account.” Forbes.com

So your prospect or current customer has been enticed by your marketing and decides that your product or service is what they need to fulfill their expectations and so make a purchase. You now have a sale.

After the sale

What happens when your ‘awesome product’ or ‘white-glove service’ does not meet the customer’s expectations? The reality is that very little matters in marketing if your product or service does not meet the needs and expectations of the customer. Many times when a customer, and especially a new customer receives what they consider to be a bad product or bad service, they will not be back.

How will you know if a customer is satisfied or dissatisfied?

According to “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner, 96% of customers who are dissatisfied will not voice their complaints. At least to you! But 91% of them will never come back to your business.

This highlights the need to implement a follow-up strategy after the sale. If you’re a Solopreneur, this is something you cannot afford to let fall by the wayside, regardless of how busy you are. If you have partners or employees, every person in your organization must understand that follow-up after the sale is not an option; it’s a requirement.

Mary Kay Ash, referred to as “One of the 25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the last 25 Years” by PBS and the Wharton School of Business, taught her Beauty Consultants a great follow-up system that can work for any business. After all it grew her business from four Consultants to 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants today.

Here is an overview of that Follow-up system:

1. Send a “Thank You” card immediately after the purchase.

2. Two days later: call the customer to find out if she is happy with her purchase or, did she have questions, and is there anything that needs to be changed.

3. Follow-up in 2 weeks to make sure she’s getting the results you told her she would.

4. Follow-up in 2-3 months.

That system has worked for over 50 years and when followed results in loyal customers.

The Challenge to Meeting Customers’ Expectations

The challenge is that as business owners typically have run tests and so know the typical results customers should have from their products or service.   This, unfortunately, may not be the same as the expectations of the consumer, and so it’s important to follow-up to make sure that both expectations match. Never assume the customer is happy because you don’t hear from them. You may never hear from them again! On the other hand, when you take the time to make a phone call or ask for feedback, it shows that you care and your focus is not on just making a sale.   You always want to make it easy for the customer to give you feedback as well.

Taking immediate steps to correct the matter, whether it’s a perceived or real problem is immaterial. What’s important is that you want your customers to be happy thus you do whatever is necessary to meet their expectations and make them happy. This action on your part could result in a customer who becomes your loyal advocate and one of your marketing partners. Even if that does not happen, you know you did all you could to meet the customer’s expectations.


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