Customer expectations can be difficult to live up to, especially as the global marketplace has provided consumers with more choices than ever. Customers are always looking for a cheaper deal, better features and more benefits, making it difficult for many businesses to keep up with the demands of their customers. If you're worried about getting left behind in a global marketplace, finding ways to exceed your customer's expectations can put you way ahead of the competition.

Focus on One Key Area

The key to exceeding customer expectations is to focus on one key area and aim to be better than your competitors in your chosen area. Businesses often spread their resources too thin by trying to be the best in all areas of their operations, but this rarely works and is unsustainable, particularly for small or medium-sized companies. 

Start by separating the attributes of your product into three or four areas that can be easily defined. For example, if you sell dog food, your product could be broken down into three simple areas: content (ingredients, food production and related processes), design (visual appeal of the food and packaging, as well as the shape, suitability and materials used in the packaging) and price. 

Next, you need to identify which key area is the most important to your customers. You may need to conduct some market research or analyze your past performance, but you should be able to choose one area to focus on.

Identify and Meet Customer Expectations

In order to exceed customer expectations, you first need to know what those expectations are. Using the example of a dog food manufacturer, the customers may expect the food to meet their dog's daily nutritional needs, packaging that clearly lists the ingredients included, and a reasonable price for the product.

Researching the standards offered by your competitors can be useful and provide insights into what consumers might expect from your company. Meeting the basic customer expectations in all areas of your business is the first step to exceeding them in your key area.

Customer handing a credit card to a retailer to buy products

Excel in Your Key Area

To excel in your chosen area, you can use your knowledge of the competition to look for ways to offer more than they are currently providing to their customers. You can also look at reviews of similar products to see if there are any helpful ideas. For example, if a large number of reviewers are asking for specific features or benefits that are not routinely offered, you might decide to incorporate these features into your products and your marketing strategy. 

Another great way to gather information that will help you to excel is to use polls and surveys, either on social media or through your own website. Allowing consumers to have their say can provide a wealth of valuable information that helps to improve your business. 

Research has shown that, in order to succeed, businesses only need to excel in one key area. As long as you are meeting the basic industry standards in other parts of your business, you only need to focus on one specific aspect of your business operations. By exceeding customer expectations in this area, you gain a huge advantage over your competitors.

Reprinted with Permission