Guest post by Cathenry.
The seventh lesson, “You’ll Encounter a Variety of Expectations” in the Forbes article Nine Impactful Customer Service Lessons That Can Change Your Business Approach reminds us how different expectations can be from one client to the next.
As a result of the current pandemic, clientele expectations are changing. Business practices pre-pandemic compared to now have changed and are still evolving for almost everyone.
I don’t think we will ever go back to most of the pre-pandemic ways, particularly when it comes to hygiene best practices and our heightened awareness of everyone’s health and well-being. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is those who haven’t adopted this awareness and who are determined not to change with the times (hence contributing to the spread of the pandemic virus).
Usually, it is easy to spot a customer’s mindset when they voice an expectation. Most of the time they are just trying to be helpful. It doesn’t mean though to give up the overall thoughtful business practices that have been put into place.
The variety of customer expectations in my line of work is based on what the customer knows and has experienced. Trying a new experience or product offered is what makes being in business exciting. My biggest bugaboo is people who do not ask about the way to go about something new and just assume their way (or expectation) is the only way.
As mentioned earlier, not reading information or the customer not doing their research is a common situation. I understand people do not always take the time to read the provided information, particularly in my industry which usually takes walk-ins. But when trying something new, it behooves the customer to get familiar with the service or product the business is providing.
In my experience, I get more conscientious bed and breakfast guests than not. Even though they are paying customers something about them being in a house makes them feel like a houseguest. It brings out the manners of being houseguests they learned in their upbringing.
Some don’t want to burden me with breakfast which is my favorite part of the business (as I get to engage with them conversationally over the breaking of bread although I do not eat with them – I just hang in the periphery, anticipating needs). Some guests will clear the table. Some go so far as rinsing their dishes (little do they know that’s a major no-no by the health department standards for B&B’s). Some want to include me in the events that bring them to my abode (graduation or birthday celebrations or the exciting anticipation before a bridal party prep).
Again, maybe it’s because they are in someone’s home, but it’s always interesting those who make up their beds before they leave.
Customer expectations from a business can be pleasantly humorous.
There once was this sweet couple. Old they were and worried about how far the bathroom was from their bedroom as they were prone to frequent nightly visits. I assured them it was close to their rooms.
“How many steps to the bathroom?” they asked.
“About five feet door to door,” I answered not knowing their gait.
“We can bring our urinal with us to keep in the room.” they offered.
I had visions of that urinal spilling and the thought of cleaning it! Fortunate for me, this conversation was by phone and they couldn’t see my expression. I assured them it was not necessary to bring the urinal. These guests turned out to be absolutely precious people.
Some of the described scenarios could fall under the topic of making an emotional connection with the customer. It is the customer experience. Once a business is tuned into and prioritizes customer service and experience, many practices or lessons in this area overlap.
This is the seventh in a series of posts. Read all posts here.
Cathenry has operated a boutique bed and breakfast enterprise in her home since 2014. Her business goal is to give guests a positive and memorable customer service-driven bed and breakfast experience. She always has gravitated to businesses demonstrating sound professional ethics, clear communication, and successful customer service. Having known customer service advocate Mark Lusky for more than 11 years, collaborating as a guest blogger is a natural outgrowth of their association.
Drawing on her extensive hospitality, hosting, event planning and customer outreach experience, Cat brings to the table unique perspectives and insights that expand the gravitas of this customer service-driven blog. She also brings to bear intense curiosity stemming from serving as a former reporter, teacher, and organizational coach with certified training.
As research and curating of information have long been Cat passions, she also will offer the perspectives and insights of third-party subject matter experts in the field of customer service as part of her guest blogger contributions.