For those of us working in specialist fields, our customer’s expectations can be a real problem. I don’t just mean in areas of business that are rare. Any business where the supplier is an expert or has specialist knowledge (plumber, accountant, dentist, florist) can fall foul of unrealistic customer expectations. In my business, film and video production, a familiar problem is customers being unaware of how long the production process takes. This then means that customers can see prices as being inflated when they aren’t.
What Is The Problem With Expectations?
I spoke to a plumber recently who has the same problem. His customers say ‘it’s just a small leak’. What they don’t realise is that the section of pipe in question can’t just be replaced. The system needs to be drained. The bad section needs to be cut out or removed in totality. New pipe needs to be fitted and made water tight. He told me how he dreads the phrase “just a little job”. This is the phrase that means the customer thinks the job takes less than an hour and they only want to pay their hourly rate for the work.
Let me be clear. This is not your customer’s fault. Consider how long it took you to become an expert. Think about how long you studied to gain your specialist knowledge. Your customer has done neither of those things. As specialist suppliers we must explain, in clear language, what our customers need to know in order for them to understand what they are asking for.
Customer: It’s a gentle knocking sound when I turn left. Can you fix it today?
Mechanic: Well I’ll need to get under the car and investigate what’s causing the knocking first. Then I’ll be able to tell you what needs fixing, how long that will take and what the parts will cost.
Customer: I just want a simple bouquet with some roses and violets and some leaves. How much will those flowers be?
Florist: Well that depends on how big you want the bouquet to be and how you want it to look. Why don’t we start by looking at some pictures of my work and you can tell me if any of them are similar to what you want. Then I can tell you how much they cost and we can work from there.we can use promotional videos to manage customer expectation Click To Tweet
How Do We Manage Expectations?
The way we have always traditionally managed expectations is by having conversations like those above, but I want to ask a question. Is there an alternative? More than that, is there a better way? I’m going to suggest that we can use promotional videos to manage customer expectations. By sharing knowledge of our processes as specialists we can educate our customers and more. We can get them to buy into our way of doing things. Customers who understand a process that the average layman does not, will feel good about that understanding. This new understanding will make them more accepting of quotes that would have seemed excessive to the layman. Furthermore, if we as specialists then go on to deliver genuinely good quality work that pleases the customer we will have satisfied evangelists for our business. Happy customers very rarely spread the word. But happy customers who feel that they have secret knowledge that their friends lack will be only too eager to tell everyone they know.
How Do We Target Our Videos At Customer Expectations?
- The first, most obvious, answer is to produce an explainer video that leads the viewer through an example of your work.
- Avoid jargon to begin with. Introduce it sparingly with clear explanations. This invites the customer into our secret group with specialist knowledge.
- Show the time it takes to complete each task. In any service business working hours make up a huge proportion of the cost. Often it is the majority of the customer costs. Your video should show customers why this is reasonable.
- Send your explainer video with every quote to a new customer. Make it part of the briefing process when you discuss the project or answer a query.
I hope this has given you a new way to think about customers who can be difficult to manage. I also hope that there are some ideas here that will help you untangle your business from the web of unrealistic expectations.