Customer satisfaction reflects the expectations and experiences that the customer has with a product or service. Consumer expectations reflect both past and current product evaluation and user experiences.
Think about any major purchases you’ve made recently. Did you research your purchase? Did you collect information from advertising, salespersons, friends, associates, or even test the product? This information influences our expectations and gives us the ability to evaluate quality, value, and the ability of the product or service to meet our needs and expectations.
Customers hold both explicit and implicit performance expectations for attributes, features, and benefits of products and services. The nature of these expectations will dictate the form and even the wording of customer satisfaction survey questions. Let me repeat this: the nature of these expectations will dictate the form and even the wording of your satisfaction questions.
Understanding the following 5 customer expectations form the definitions below is critical before you set out to measure customer satisfaction and increase customer loyalty.
- Explicit Expectations
Explicit expectations are mental targets for product performance, such as well-identified performance standards.
For example, if expectations for a colour printer were for 17 pages per minute and high-quality colour printing, but the product actually delivered 3 pages per minute and good quality colour printing, then the cognitive evaluation comparing product performance and expectations would be 17 PPM – 3 PPM + High – Good, with each item weighted by the associated importance.
2. Implicit Expectations
Implicit expectations reflect established norms of performance. Implicit expectations are established by business in general, other companies, industries, and even cultures.
An implicit reference might include wording such as “Compared with other companies…” or “Compared to the leading brand.”
3. Static Performance Expectations
Static performance customer expectations address how performance and quality are defined for a specific application. Performance measures related to quality of outcome may include the evaluation of accessibility, customization, dependability, timeliness, accuracy, and user-friendly interfaces.
Static performance expectations are the visible part of the iceberg; they are the performance we see and—often erroneously—are assumed to be the only dimensions of performance that exist.
4. Dynamic Performance Expectations
Dynamic performance customer expectations are about how the product or service is expected to evolve over time. Dynamic expectations may be about the changes in support, product, or service needed to meet future business or use environments.
Dynamic performance expectations may help to produce “static” performance expectations as new uses, integrations, or system requirements develop and become more stable.
5. Technological Expectation
Technological customer expectations focus on the evolving state of the product category. For example, mobile phones are continually evolving, leading to higher expectations of new features.
Mobile service providers, in an effort to limit a consumer’s ability to switch to new technology phones, have marketed rate plans with high cancellation penalties for switching providers, but with liberal upgrade plans for the phones they offer.
The availability of low profile phones with email, camera, MP3, blue tooth technology, and increased storage will change technology expectations as well as the static and dynamic performance expectations of the product. These highly involving products are not just feature based, but raise expectations that enhance perceptions of status, ego, self-image, and can even evoke emotions of isolation and fear when the product is not available.
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