Today companies create narratives that communicate what they stand for, so customers know where to go to have their needs fulfilled. Taking a certain position regarding what a company is known for is just as important as providing high quality services and products. And once that position is clear, customers react accordingly, adding their expectations to the formula of successful cooperation.
Despite the fact that we are living in an age where customers are educated about products and services, there are types of services where a person cannot choose something even using all their accumulated knowledge. This may be the case of complicated or rare products customers don’t know anything about or services like technology consulting where the help of professionals is the only way to succeed
And yet, there is often a gap between what customers think they know and what they actually know. Rarely is a customer heading to buy a service or product without doing at least some type of homework. That is what’s different in the formation of expectations today than twenty years ago. Even though the change is positive, in some cases it can problematize the relationship between customers and service providers.
Expectations come from needs, and today only those companies succeed that know how to hone in on the needs of their clients. The businesses that only manipulate and exploit expectations will die out eventually because only genuine fulfillment of needs is the path to longevity. That is why so many IT firms launch and burn out, startups wither and die, contracts last only for 6 months and a significant amount of projects fails. When customer needs are ignored, short-term gain or personal goals take over and that is a scenario for failure – no exceptions.
A clear red flag when it comes to expectations is “yes-people”. If as a client you hear praise for your business idea and see lots of head nodding, without hearing many questions about the project and discussing how exactly it will be carried out – you might have a case of someone trying to manipulate your expectations, not fulfilling your needs.
A genuinely interested provider will do everything to get to the bottom of what the client’s goals are. The provider wants to know who you are and what your specific goal is in the process. When there are many variables in the equation, and decisions are made by different sides which may sometimes conflict (engineering, finance and legal departments, for instance) good vendors analyze which group makes the ultimate decisions and drives the project, to focus on their core expectations without neglecting the goals of the other groups.