It’s a principal of customer retention and satisfaction to clearly communicate the substance and value of a product or service. Customers are more satisfied if they know what they will get.

The issues to consider here are:

– How clearly do you communicate what you sell? Is it supremely clear on your website and in all marketing materials? Is it clearly communicated via sales and customer service? Or is it communicated with industry terms and generalities? I bet you’ve seen websites that are so generic in their homepage descriptions that you have no clue what they provide or sell.

– Do you understand what your customers expect from you? How can you best meet and exceed customer expectations? Are you making assumptions, or have they told you?

– How do you know when customer’s expectations are not being met? If you don’t know this, you can’t repair your communications, processes or service/product so that future customers are happier.

I’ve been to a conference that did not meet my expectations. Let’s look at the elements that contributed to this mismatch of expectations and it will give you a sense of the variety of ways and places clarity is needed when selling and delivering any customer experience.

Upfront/ before purchase:

  • The website didn’t offer much detail about the structure of the conference or how it would be conducted, it focused on generalities and the conference outcome.
  • The person who recommended the conference to me gave me only a generic description and told me it would be worthwhile. When customers can’t define your service with specifics, it may reveal a lack of clarity with what you really offer. Asking customers how they describe your company or services to others (in a survey for example) can be an informative exercise.

During the experience:

  • When I arrived at the conference, there was little clarification, direction or definition.
  • During the conference there weren’t points of clarification or direction but rather a general lack of information – some participants knew how to maximize their experience at the conference, and some didn’t.
  • What I also found was that there were differing expectations among attendees. It seems the organizing groups made assumptions around why people attended the event and what they wanted from the conference.

After the experience:

  • The conference did send out a survey to gather feedback – I hope this gave them information about the need for more clarity in defining their event in the future.

It’s paramount to help customers understand your service/product/value or you can end up with low retention and even negative word of mouth.