What Are Customer Expectations?

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
Seeking comments about the following:

What Are Customer Expectations?

Customer expectations are the customer defined attributes of your product or service you must meet or exceed to achieve customer satisfaction.

Are There Different Types of Customer Expectations?

There are two types of customer expectations, expressed and implied.

Expressed Customer Expectations are:
· Written, e.g., terms of a contract.
· Spoken, e.g., voice of the customer.

Implied Customer Expectations are:
· Too difficult for the customer to clearly communicate.
· Not written or spoken, but very basic to the product or service, e.g., the customer expects wheels on a car.

How Are Customer Expectations Identified?

Here are several methods to help identify your customer expectations.
· Market research
· Contractual agreements
· Focus groups
· Phone calls
· Satisfaction surveys
· Site visits
· Warranty records
· Informal discussions
· News media · competitive benchmarking

Do Customer Expectations Change Over Time?

Customer expectations change over time due to enhancements to products or services by competitors, technological innovations, or improved performance of your process.

It is important to periodically update your knowledge of customer expectations. The same methods used to identify your customer expectations can be used to update them.
 
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gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
We can meet customer requirements but fail to meet their expectations. This is where customer surveys (of whatever kind) can help. Many times expectations are not meet due to the preceptions companies create via advertising (internet,brochures,commercials,etc) and the sales force.

Many times we unknowingly set ourselves up not to meet expectations by "helping a customer out". E.G. a customer know your lead time is 10 days, but just this one time we do some adjusting and are able to deliver in 3. the customer may expect this more often or wonder why the lead time cannot be cut to 7.

Expectations tend to move up over time. Many customer are lost to not meeting expectations. COMMUNICATION :D
 
#3
Customer Expectations

I often use restaurant examples for this. The server takes your order, including how “well” the food is to be prepared. We assume everyone knows what “medium well” or “over easy” means. These are the stated requirements. Yes, I want cream and sugar in my coffee (but how much?).

Our implied requirements are that we expect the food to be delivered on a plate, and silverware will be provided (except at “Medieval Times”, where customers must eat with their hands). We expect the dishes to be clean and the lettuce on the salad to be fresh.

When our requirements (stated and unstated) are met, we reward the server with a tip. When they are not met, we still reward the server with a tip. Well, I don’t. I have been known to deliberately not leave a tip, or worse. Once I left a dime tip for a meal because the server stood there and talked with other servers while my food was waiting for pickup. She got snippy when I mentioned the delay to her. I made a point to tell her about the tip as I was leaving. (probably not a good social thing to do – bring it to everyone’s attention) I would have been really ticked if I had received a form letter/customer satisfaction survey later.

It is important for us to determine our customer’s expectations and their delights. The Kano (spelling?) model is a good tool to help us in that area. Many of the customer delights today will become expectations tomorrow. We need to be able to recognize this before it happens and find a new “delight” before our great performance becomes mediocre.
 
M

Michael T

#4
What about...

Very good points... and I agree with all of them.

I have just one little monkey wrench for the gears...

How does someone know what customer expectations (e.g. specifications for a product) really are if the customer accepts a product that is slightly out of spec but with a concession?

Is the spec still valid? Are customer expectations actually lower than what has been stated?

Anyone want to tackle this?

Cheers!!!
 
J
#5
Re: What about...

Originally posted by Michael T
Very good points... and I agree with all of them.

I have just one little monkey wrench for the gears...

How does someone know what customer expectations (e.g. specifications for a product) really are if the customer accepts a product that is slightly out of spec but with a concession?

Is the spec still valid? Are customer expectations actually lower than what has been stated?

Anyone want to tackle this?

Cheers!!!
Good point. Many machinists would say no, the new spec is whatever is the worst condition that the customer accepts.

However I must say, yes the spec remains valid until the customer changes it. The fact that the customer issued a deviation approval could mean many things.
There may be built in redundancies in the system that would allow this component to be out slightly as long as other components are in spec. There may be safety factors involved which have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

In any event, the spec remains in force until the customer decides to change it. You may suggest that if the spec could be changed it might improve production and perhaps even lower the price of the part, but the customer spec remains the goal for satisfaction.

Just My humble opinion

James
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#6
Monkey wrench number two: does the customer know what he wants(expects)? A slight tangent, perhaps, but more for the mix.

Regards,

Kevin
 
A

Alf Gulford

#7
I don't know how well this really fits, but I'll throw it in anyway. When the customer expectation question comes up I'm reminded of a training course I went through (can't even remember what it was about) in which the trainer mentioned that he once had a video golf game that he loved. If anyone had asked, he would have given if perfect marks, the highest rating he could think of, and considered himself a customer of the manufacturer for life.

Then he tried a new game by another manufacturer. He liked the new one so much better that he immediately forgot about the first one.

I don't really have a moral to this story. Just a comment.

Alf
 

Atul Khandekar

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Monkey Wrench 2

Originally posted by Kevin Mader
Monkey wrench number two: does the customer know what he wants(expects)? A slight tangent, perhaps, but more for the mix.
In case of machined components and such, it is 'probably' easier to define and understand what the customer wants.
I do a lot of custom software development. In almost all cases, I have found that the customers are not really able to specify their exact requirements.. There is always a vast difference between what they WANT, what they NEED and what they CAN get ! At times, the job of defining specs can become more tedious than developing that software. :)
 
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