Understanding Customer Expectations

why it's important to understand customer expectations

Do you remember the first time you ordered a Big Mac? That moment when you unboxed it and thought, “Wow… this is definitely smaller than what it looks like on pictures”. It’s a similar feeling to the one you get when you buy a packet of Lays potato chips. The packet is usually so swollen but the moment you open it you realize it’s filled with 99% air. Customer expectations are really interesting and some companies have got it all figured out. McDonald’s have tested exactly how small they can make the Big Mac. They’ve made it small enough to make a decent profit and big enough for you not to lay false advertising claims.

Customer Expectations Are Dynamic

Isn’t it interesting how you expect the Big Mac to be bigger, perhaps because the word “big” is in the name, however you don’t quite expect the fries to be as big as they are on the pictures? In fact, McDonald’s fries are the most slender fries you can find at any fast-food outlet. Even though the size of the fries are just as exaggerated as the size of the Big Mac burger, why do we not seem to be as disappointed as we get when we realize how small the Big Mac is? This is just to show you how dynamic customer expectations are.

It’s really great for businesses to understand which expectations are more important to their customers. For example, Lays claims they fill the bag of potato chips with air to keep them fresh and crispy for longer. I don’t buy that though. When I walk down the snacks aisle, I usually pick Lays chips because the packet seems to look more full than their wimpy looking competitors. The guys know good and well what they are doing. It has nothing to do with freshness but rather to do with their understanding of customer expectations.

The pack of Lays just looks more desirable. The bulging packet makes you expect to find more chips inside. However, the disappointment of finding a third of the number of chips than you expected is not enough to stop you from falling for the trick the next time you walk down the snack aisle. Managing customer expectations is often overlooked by most small businesses.


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