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Grant Gavin - Meeting Expectations Is A Fail

Your best, most treasured memories and experiences are so often unexpected.

Your sports team winning a final as underdogs. An unexpected bonus from your boss. Finding money in your old jeans.

I'm sure you can think of a number of moments in your life when you were blown away by something you did not expect.

Receiving gifts from those you love on your birthday is expected. Receiving an unexpected gift from a loved one...well, that can quite literally blow you away.
Sadly, the opposite is true too. Some of your worst experiences in life can occur when you least expect.

An untimely retrenchment. A break-up that you just didn't see coming. Your sports team losing in a final when they were red hot favourites. These moments are hard to take. Bitter pills to swallow that take you ages to recover from.

I'm sure you can think of a few dreadful moments in your life when something you expected just didn't materialise? This is such a powerful concept when you take the personal experiences mentioned above, and then relate them back to your business.

There is a power in exceeding expectations, just as there is an equal and opposite power in not meeting the expectations of your clients.
Merely meeting their expectations will never excite your clients. You're providing them with the exact service or product for which they have transacted financially. In other words, by meeting their expectations, your clients will be satisfied because they will feel that they got their money's worth.
For consumers, not receiving their money's worth, is unacceptable. It's a reason never to return, and a sure way to kill off future referrals to your business. In today's world of social media you will be quick to hear when you fall short of a client's expectation.

If you want to blow your clients away, leave them feeling excited with their purchases, and create raving fans for your business, who will refer others to you time and time again; then you have to find a way to exceed their expectations.

Take a good look at every step of the journey that a customer will take with your business, and ask yourself, "How do I add more value in a way that will surprise and delight my customer?"

The first step in exceeding expectations is knowing what they are. If need be, do a survey of your clients - don't be afraid of the feedback. Good honest critiques are powerful for business.

Here are two more tips that won't cost you anything:
Focus on the small things. The personal touch doesn't cost a cent. Smiles and warm greetings from your staff are expected. Phoning your clients on their birthdays or sending them a hand-written 'Thank You' note will make a big difference.
Build a Relationship. Create an environment where your clients feel warm and welcome from the minute they interact with you and your staff. Keep that feeling through the after-sales process by following up with your clients after the sale. Build a relationship that lasts beyond the transaction. Let them know that you actually care about more than just the sale.
Meeting expectations is the new age way of being mediocre. Competition for market share in your industry will only get tougher and those businesses who find a way to exceed expectations will be the ones who continue to grow and take larger slices of the market in this customer-centric age.

Grant Gavin is the Founder of the Durban Entrepreneurs Club, International Speaker, Business Coach and owner of RE/MAX Panache, the largest real estate company in the North Durban suburbs. To sign up for his Sunday Startup weekly email, visit

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