Exceeding Expectations

 

Blog - Lillian J. LeBlanc - September 29, 2014

Exceeding Expectations

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How Best Companies create customer and employee loyalty

What are your expectations as an employee or as a customer? If you’re like most, you want to be treated honestly and fairly. You want to receive something of value in exchange for your time or money. You want to be satisfied.

Understanding expectations

exceeding-expectations1 It’s a good thing when expectations are met. There is no misunderstanding; everyone walks away happy and life moves on – right? Not always. If the organization on the other side of your transaction happens to be a great company, just meeting your expectations won’t be enough. Great companies strive to consistently exceed expectations with both customers and employees.

If exceeding expectations is so crucial to customer and employee satisfaction, why don’t all organizations make this a goal? Some argue that it’s too expensive; it might require giving too much away. Others feel that good is good enough. Customers will come anyway, so why go the extra mile? Employees need their jobs and it isn’t necessary to do more than meet basic needs.

Exceeding expectations is good business

Great companies know that there is strong return on an investment in exceeding expectations. It’s called retention. Want to drive incredible brand loyalty? Exceed the customer’s expectations, every time. Is turnover a problem in your organization? Discover what motivates your employees, and then do more. Savvy marketers know that brand evangelists – customers who love your company and your products – often have more impact on revenue than dazzling media campaigns. If you know your organization’s cost per hire, you can easily calculate the financial impact of even a small reduction in employee turnover – and the results may astound you. Is it expensive to exceed expectations? The answer lies in another question: Is it expensive not to?

How Best Companies exceed expectations

My personal experience with a 100 Best Company offers a wonderful example of exceeding customer expectations. I’ve been an American Express cardmember for more than 30 years. An Amex card comes at a price and some believe that it’s not worth paying for a credit card. Over the years, though, Amex has consistently exceeded my expectations and I’ve come to view my cardmember fee as an investment. Recently, group of third parties offering a benefit to Amex cardmembers decided to discontinue the perk. American Express could easily have said, “Oh well, cardmember, read the fine print, our obligation ends when the third party withdraws the benefit,” but the company strives to exceed customer expectations. Despite the lack of any contractual obligation to do so, Amex offered a statement credit for the value of the discontinued benefit. Moreover, Amex consistently works to make things easy and always assumes that its customers are right. They exceed expectations, every time. Is this brand evangelism? You bet – and it’s well deserved.

Several other Best Companies offer daily examples of exceeding customer and employee expectations. If you’re looking for an item in a Publix store, the employee won’t just tell you where it is – he’ll walk you to it, making sure that you find exactly what you need. By the way, that Publix associate is actually a company owner. A good number of Publix associates retire as millionaires, thanks to the company’s generous employee stock ownership program. My own employer, Baptist Health South Florida takes great care of employees in many ways, including providing a benefit called backup care that offers in-home care for any loved one when the regular care arrangements fall through. It’s not surprising that the company offering this innovative benefit for employers is another 100 Best Company, Bright Horizons

The next time you have an opportunity to impact a customer or an employee, consider his or her expectations – then strive to exceed them. Not only will you be taking steps to make your company great, but you’ll also be positively impacting the company’s bottom line.

Lillian J. LeBlanc, SPHR, PCC is an Executive Leadership Development Coach at Baptist Health South Florida.

Lillian J. LeBlanc