Managing expectation is a delicate yet crucial function in human relations. How well is it handled could make a world of difference in winning or losing the “customer.” Define the customers however you want.
On a most basic level, no one likes to be surprised. To stave off the unpleasant effect of surprises, timely communication is a must. Easier said than done.
Real world situation is dynamic. Circumstance changes at the drop of a hat. Same with the customer’s expectation and a host of other factors. This is why public relation professionals get paid big bucks to stay on top of things.
For those who can’t afford paid PR staffs or would rather manage the customers’ expectations themselves, my recommendations are as follows:
(1) be as good as you can in your business – if you are the gold standard or the lead dog in your business sector, it is easier for you to set the expectation; it is better to be in the driver seat and to give yourself more leverage
(2) be proactive – as mentioned before, business environment is dynamic, as such there are definite values in information velocity; furthermore, lots of data abound, so are intelligent software and hardware; take advantage of the social networks
(3) be honest – in the event when the customers’ expectation can’t be met, best to convey that information honestly and directly; bad news does not improve over time
What has your experience been in managing expectation? Any recommendations?