Expectations.

They give us something to shoot for;  what we hope to achieve, what we hope to get out of something…. Expectations are predicted, end results, usually tilted towards our own good or profit.

Expectations usually have a direct influence on folks’ demeanor.  Sad folks’ expectations weren’t reached.  Happy folks reached their expectations and in some cases exceeded them.

Many of the let-downs experienced in customer service are because expectations are out of whack;  hopes that are not based in reality.

Many customer service fiascoes, where the client is waving their arms around and feeling like they’ve been slighted beyond belief, are because of false expectations.

We tend to think very highly of ourselves.  If I go in to a fast food, greasy spoon joint, expecting 5-star service, I’m probably going to be let down when I’m not pampered and there’s gunk on the silverware.

If I pay 10 dollars for a pair of sunglasses and after one month they break;  was it because that’s a junky brand and the manufacturer is a cad or is it because they are 10-dollar sunglasses and I got the proper use from a cheap pair of shades?

How much quality, customer service can you expect from someone still in High School behind the counter?

Then when the kid doesn’t perform up to our standard of quality and we’re let down, we either blame the kid or management.

“Management should have trained him better”

“Management shouldn’t have them behind the counter”.

But then isn’t that expectation also a bit “off”.  Who should management have behind the counter?  Anyone else may require double or triple the hourly wage;  therefore costs go up and people balk at the prices on the menu.

“So what are you saying, Jacob, to never have expectations?”  Of course not.  We’re human; that’s what we do, that’s how we chart our course.

But customer service expectations should be based on knowledge and reason.  I’ll go as far to say that our expectations should even be based on our own ability to adapt to the situation and how we can make the best of a situation.  In other words, an internal thing.

An “out of this world customer service experience” as important and great as that may be, I’ll wager that we’ll see more of those, once we learn how to be become smarter buyers and more sophisticated in our daily, life navigation.

Many times, we get out of something, what we put in to it.

Know What Your Dealing With:

Knowledge and the ability to apply knowledge help align our expectations to a realistic level.  If I feel like 5-star service, I’ll go to the nice place, on the nice side of town when my wallet is full.  If I just want something greasy and could care less if anyone even greets me, I’ll go to Joe’s Diner.

Vendors, service providers, clerks;  they’ve all got their own lives and their own problems.  They are people subject to mistake, some more so than others.

Why are we so surprised if they mess up?  Didn’t you mess up at your job before?  Did you clearly give them your order?  Were you an organized client?  How big was your order and how much of your business helps pay their bill?

Don’t Allow Disappointment from Others:

Is the person selling tickets really that important to your mood and attitude?  The way people rant and rave about bad customer service;  you’d think every ounce of happiness was based on what the guy at the pharmacy did or didn’t do.  If we find that some place’s customer service has really given us a bad day, it’s times like that we may need to get a hobby, go on a date or establish more meaning to our own life.

If a place gives bad service, or a brand sells a bad product;  don’t go back there, don’t buy it again but most importantly, don’t let it ruin your day and become a bigger deal than it is.

Work with Situations, Tools and People to the Best of Their Ability:

Don’t stop at the truck stop expecting a great dining experience;  use that for when you want to scarf down a greasy, quick burger…rude service and all – take it for what it is.

If you have a consistently late vendor but they have a very competitive price; then use them for the jobs that are not urgent. Don’t knock them off the roster and miss out on taking advantage of that competitive pricing.

Situations, tools and even people can be a means to an end (I say “people” for the purpose of the post, but I realize people are an invaluable and different level of a resource).  Let “things” and “others” work for you in areas where they are best.  Finding and using the strength of others, of places and of things is a great life skill.

Where to Place the High Expectations?

On yourself.

Expect YOU to handle every situation to the best of your ability.  Have high expectations on yourself to adapt to a rough situation and make the best of it.  Highly expect yourself to know what vendor is trustworthy and what vendor needs to be marked off the list.

Expect yourself to be savvy in knowing when to pick a winner, when to train the right person, when to crank up the expectations and when to cut losses.

The better I am in knowing who or what is good at what, the more I can navigate with less disappointment and to know where to place my energies.

I’m a fan of good customer service and we strive for it in our own company.  But when it comes to what we receive from others; proper perspective can make or break us.  Keep your expectations high, but on the areas in which high expectations can bring fruit.

If I find my expectations are dashed to the ground, I need to check if they were left out for the dashing or if I used wisdom in where I placed my hopes.