Sometimes there are features of your product or service that customers don’t like. They have to get through the “bad stuff” to get to the “good stuff” — the major benefit they are seeking.
There may be circumstances beyond your control. There could be an unavoidable side effect. Sometimes you experience bottlenecks or backlogs because of your popularity.
You can take the edge off by telling your customer in advance what to expect.
For example, the experience of flying Southwest is a little like a cattle drive, as customers are “herded” on and off the airplane, with no reserved seats and “no frills.” Southwest tells their customers something like, “You are going to enjoy low fares and we have one of the best records of getting our customers and their luggage to their destinations safely and on time, but it’s going to look ugly.” Southwest is one of a handful of profitable airlines and enjoys great repeat business.
My daughter and her husband, Holly and Dan Baker, prepare their customers after reopening Marche’ Aux Fleurs restaurant for outdoor dining after being closed for the COVID-19 quarantine. Historically, they have had very attentive personal service.
Their greeting is something like this. “Welcome to Marche’ Aux Fleurs! Have you dined with us since we’ve reopened? It’s a different experience because of the safety measures to protect you and our servers. Our servers always wear masks and we ask that you do the same when you’re not eating. Please observe social distancing. We ask that you pour your own drinks. Let us know if you need another pitcher of water or bottle of wine and we’ll bring it to you. Since we have limited seating, we ask that you limit the time for your meal to an hour and a half so your table will be available for the next guests at their reservation time. Thank you so much for coming to our restaurant and we’re going to do our best for you to have an enjoyable visit.”
In addition, a poster is prominently displayed showing “What you can expect from us” (relating to safety practices) and “What we ask of you.”
What irritates your customers about your product or service? Is it a problem that is beyond your control or that you can’t solve right now? Instead of hiding the problem, why not let them know in advance so they won’t be unpleasantly surprised? Would you like some help developing a script to help manage your customers’ expectations? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation to work on it together.