Managing Customer Expectations and Your Business

I took the kids to Chicago this 4th of July to see the fireworks. Why wouldn’t I? The fireworks should be fun, full of magnificance (if that’s a word) and should awe you.  That was my first mistake. For one – an 8 and 6 year old can be awed by a sparkler they hold in their hand.  I’m sure the local fireworks would have been just fine.  But I had bigger things in mind for them.

Chicago. The Windy City. The Willis Tower. Oprah. The Bears. . .

Chicago is big. Chicago Crime is big. Chicago Politics are big.  And I could have sworn the fireworks were big.

Chicago, on the other hand, has issues.  For their annual Fireworks Show they have to manage traffic, congestion, the city’s metro transit system, the police and their budget. Well this year they decided to solve all those problems with one fell swoop. That’s right. Chicago decided it was time to manage their city – not be managed by it.

So they took their firework budget and divided into three parts. Then proceeded to plan three separate fireworks shows. Each of the three shows were on beaches miles apart. This would keep the congestion in the city down, congestion on the metro down and allow lots of people to see the show.

What they didn’t tell those of us going to see the Fireworks Show was that the fireworks budget itself was cut in three. So each of us, with Big Expectations, sat down for a fireworks show that lasted no more than 14 minutes.

The question Chicago should ask (and in turn a small business) is what is the long term impact of that? I probably won’t drag my kids to Chicago to see the fireworks ever again. So the $300 we spent there will now go elsewhere. And it’s not because they didn’t put on a show – it’s that they didn’t meet the expectations of the audience.

You have to manage your business – there’s no doubt about it. But know that your customers have expectations that need to be met, exceeded or explained ahead of time.

In the online world, sometimes that means doing things the way others have done them – which is the way consumers come to expect. If you’re going to make big changes that will greatly benefits your business – make sure you look at the new changes from the eyes of the consumer.  Do your beneficial changes really benefit everyone?

Please share a moment when your expectations weren’t met? And how do you feel about going back.

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