How The Best Businesses Meet Customer Expectations

Learning from the best


It is surprising how many once-dominant companies lost out by failing to stay focused on customer expectations. These include companies like Microsoft, which failed to realize just how much consumers needed more relevant search results. By meeting the expectations of users and intensely prioritizing relevant results, Google surpassed Microsoft as the tech company to watch in the new century. 

Although the following companies are massive, this doesn't mean that a business needs to be as big to learn from how they handle customer service. In fact in many ways running a smaller company will make implementing and learning from them easier as the scaling isn't as big of a challenge. Technology is allowing companies to achieve the same quality with less resources. You don't need to pay for a big building stacked with fancy office desks or furniture while being laden with hundreds of employees anymore. As you scale you may need these things but the necessity has dropped significantly in recent years.

Below you will find some big companies demonstrating fantastic customer service strategies that utilize modern technology that is assisting them significantly.

Toyota And The Importance Of Research

Toyota is a company that almost perfectly demonstrates how to focus on meeting customer expectations. When Toyota opened the doors to its first US dealership in 1957, this obscure importer was an unknown quantity. Today, the company is a legendary success story and one of the fifteen largest companies in the world.

If Toyota had followed the crowd and adopted the most common practices then current for U.S automakers, it might have limped along as an also-ran. In 1957, U.S automotive giants could seem almost aristocratic as they dictated the needs of the public and manufactured cars accordingly. Toyota earned the trust of the buying public by researching and understanding the specific ways competitors were leaving consumers feeling unfulfilled. This early research phase is beyond critical for meeting customer expectations. Truly, this step deserves more than haphazard treatment. Through adequate research, Toyota successfully leverages models to meet the needs of each geographical region.

Trader Joe's And Cultivating A Sensitive Corporate Spirit

Compared to some competing grocery stores, Trader Joe's doesn't have the the largest selection of products. Though competitive, the company's pricing is comparable with other organic stores. Trader Joe's meets customer expectations by cultivating a corporate spirit that is closely aligned with the attitudes of customers. For example, organic grocery shoppers are increasingly committed to eating locally produced food whenever possible. In response, Trader Joe's takes pains to stock local foods before they reach grocery aisles nationwide.

Trader Joe's example shows that meeting customer expectations is about much more than offering cheap deals and discounts. According to Defaqto Research, 55% of all customers are willing to pay more for guaranteed better service. Companies like Trader Joe's lucratively cater to that 55% with sensitive corporate attitudes well-tuned to changing expectations.

Amazon And Staffing To Meet Customer Expectations

2014 was the fifth year in a row that Amazon placed at the top of Zogby's Analytics Customer Service Hall of Fame. Based on the results of a randomized, scientific poll, this accomplishment demonstrates how Amazon has won the heart of American consumers. Amazon safeguarded its reputation last year when it hired 2,000 new employees to handle customer service.

When it comes down to the wire, adequate training can only go so far when it comes to providing great customer service. Effective staffing is essential for ensuring that unsatisfied customers are rare. According to the White House Office Of Consumer Affairs, each dissatisfied customer will tell between nine and 15 other people about their unsatisfying consumer experience. To maintain their reputations, all companies need to emulate Amazon and invest whatever it takes in staff for customer satisfaction. Without adequate time to handle customer issues and complaints, even well-meaning employees can leave customers feeling jilted. With enough human resources, it is easier to give customers the time and consideration they expect.

How Zappos Uses Honesty For Customer Retention

Cynics aside, most consumers expect honesty from the companies that take their money. With an incredible customer retention rate of 75%, online clothing retailer Zappos takes great pains to ensure that packages do not arrive late. By keeping timetables modest and delivering with well-planned speed, Zappos ensures that most shipping surprises involve surprisingly quick delivery. For example, Zappos commits to deliver most orders within five business days. At the same time, most Zappos orders are shipped overnight. By meeting customer expectations for honesty and reliability, Zappos build rock-solid relationships with customers. Researchers at Bain & Company report that it is six to seven times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep an existing customer. People who emulate Zappos' honesty can feel good about themselves while shrewd protecting their bottom lines.


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