The Importance of Educating Your Customers

Unrealistic expectations can ruin even the best of experiences.  Unfortunately, it’s an easily overlooked area because we sometimes forget that it is not the customer’s job to inherently know what to expect, but rather, it is ours to teach them.  It is important that your organization assumes the role of the expert, taking the time to educate before, during, and post experience so that customers are not left entirely on their own to outline and assess your service levels.  Providing guidance during these crucial points will show your customer what to anticipate and take the mystery out of the equation.  There are a few common culprits that can cause these disappointments; all of which are preventable.

First, there is your marketing, advertising, and communications. If any one of them suggest or imply something inaccurate or misleading, you will be starting in the proverbial “red” with the customer.  Sometimes misleading things are a simple oversight, and other times they may be a product of an overzealous sales or marketing team.  Either way, customers are increasingly sensitive and concerned about the bait and switch thing – so whether you meant to or not, you may be forced into damage control if you have misstep here.  One recommendation I have is to stay away from any advertising that requires a lot of small print.  If there are that many caveats, you should find another offer to attract clientele or you’ll probably only see them once.

Second is your process.  When your customer facing employees interact with customers, they know what they are doing from start to finish.  You may have worked out all of the kinks and have it down to a science – but if your customer doesn’t know what you’re doing, the ease and efficiency may be entirely lost on them.  A great way to educate the customer during this process is to explain what is being done, why certain questions are being asked, etc.  This will help them understand their timeline and their next steps as you are working with them.  Remember that saying, “tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them?” Normally this is used as presentation advice – but I would say it works very well in this scenario too.

Finally, make sure you survey, and make sure it’s an awesome and helpful assessment.  I talked about measuring customer service in an earlier post – but it’s really important that you do it right.  There is a very fine line between assessing service, and asking so many irrelevant questions that you inadvertently beg for pickiness and dissatisfaction.  For instance, an airline would focus on service based questions and would never ask about the smoothness of the flight, right – because turbulence from windy day isn’t a fair assessment of an airline’s customer service.  This is an easy mistake to make, so be sure your questions are within your control and don’t lead the customer down the wrong path.

Does your organization look at educating the customer and helping them understand the service that’s being provided?  Please share!

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