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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Etsy Sellers Tip: Managing Expectations

 Managing expectations is a big key to running a successful business, because if you "Exceed Expectations" we all know this means we are doing a great job.

I'll try to explain what Managing Expectations is: Imagine you have arrived at a busy restaurant and are told that there is a 30 minute wait for a table. You put your name down on the list, sit at the bar and make yourself comfortable. Only 15 minutes later, the staff come to tell you that your table is ready. You're thrilled right? Because you only have to wait 15 minutes when you were told it would be 30. Now imagine if you had come to the same busy restaurant, and you are told that there should be a table ready in 5 minutes. You sit down at the bar and impatiently wait for the staff to come and tell you your table is ready, but they don't arrive until 15 minutes after you sat down. Now you are downright annoyed because you only expected to be waiting for 5 minutes.


Can you see how the expectation was set in each situation, and how much of an affect this has on a customers reaction to the same amount of waiting time?
 

Managing expectations is about telling your customers what to expect from you, and then exceeding the expectations you gave them. This requires good communication, because if you don't tell your customers what to expect then they will have their own ideas (which may or may not be totally impossible for you to meet). So the first step is to communicate all the information your customer will need to them.

Examples of this include:
- When an order is made, send an email to thank them and at the same time let them know when their package will be shipped, and how long you expect it to take to arrive.
- When dealing with a custom order, always let your customer know how long it will take to make.
- Fill out your shop policies with information on everything you do as a business, from the way you pack your shipping boxes to the speed at which you answer emails. Have all the information there for your buyers so it is easy to find.

To make sure that you exceed expectations, always add a little extra "wiggle room" in case of unexpected problems.

Another important way of managing expectations is how you deal with a major problem when it comes up, when your wiggle room is just not going to be enough. Perhaps you took an order for something but the shop you get the materials from has run out and it will be 3 weeks before they have more. What do you do? You let your customer know, give them options and other choices to replace the item they needed or ask them if they mind waiting until you have the materials in stock. Don't leave them in the dark expecting everything to be going fine, because they will be very unhappy to receive the perfect item 3 weeks later than they expected. 




Managing expectations is about communication, which is so important when it comes to building a good relationship with your customer. Good relationships help your business grow faster than anything else, if people know you for being honest and that you meet your deadlines they will come back and they will tell their friends about you too. 

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for an amazing post Mousie! Marking!!!

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  2. Perfectly put :)

    Always try to give a little more than expected, go the extra mile. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. So very true, always communicate, and think of how you yourself like to be treated. Then make sure you do it better than that :)

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  4. Thank you! :D
    Very nice and helpful post! xox

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  5. Perfectly written, and so very right!
    The key is in informing your customers and beeing communicative!

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  6. Thank you so much! This has been very helpful!

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  7. excellent ...I need to add about 1 week to each dinner that I make :)

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  8. you are so right! still a bit scared of annoying situations as you described:) very helpful, thanks!

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