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Sonoma County Gazette
You want your customers to trust you and your products, to be happy they bought them and recommend you to others.
You want your customers to trust you and your products, to be happy they bought them and recommend you to others.

Meeting Customer Expectations  


Jul 25, 2019
by Elizabeth Slater


Most businesses are focused on their products. Making and/or offering the very best products you can, should always be at the top of the list. However, right underneath making the best products you can, should be meeting your guests and customers expectations.

Meeting expectations is a tricky thing as much of the time you don’t know what consumers are going to expect when they walk through the door. Nor do individual sets of consumers want the same thing.

Additionally, not all customer service/sales employees take the time or have the time to ask visitors questions about what they want.  Yet, if you want to satisfy people’s wants, needs and expectations it’s important that a little time is spend finding out who they are.

The value of communication

Communication at all levels is important in any business. What any company wants and expects from all its employees should be clearly defined in writing and given as part of the package when anyone is employed.  This is especially important in the case of those people who are regularly interacting with guests.

  •    Have a one-page sheet of basic information for staff members working 
  •    with the public that focuses on connection and meeting expectations
  •    Remind them to first focus on the wants and needs of the customers rather than the product.
  •    A training budget to regularly present more information to sales/customer service staff is also helpful
  •    Regular training once or twice per year
  •    Mystery shop to assess customer interaction
  •    Opportunity for staff to visit competitive businesses and assess their procedures      
  •    Know whom you are dealing with

Be aware that the needs and wants of the first time visitor may be very different from those of long-term customers.  First time guests may need more guidance and more encouragement to rely on their own judgment; whereas, long-term customers want to be treated as friends and valued for their loyalty.

What Customers Want

A personal approach is by far the best way to make customers feel comfortable. They want to be able to find the information they need or want in a number of different ways.

  • Make your website easy to navigate with all the information they need simple to find 
  • Create a list of often asked questions with the answers to these questions
  • The phone number and email address should be easily accessed
  • Your customers want options make it easy for them to reach you with receive questions, complaints or praise by phone, email, through social media. 
  • If the question or complaint needs some time to investigate 
  • respond quickly to let the person know you are looking into it.

In Person   

When consumers visit your business premises make them feel welcome. The idea is always is to treat them in the way they want to be treated. 

  • If they are in a hurry, complete the transaction quickly for them.  
  • Ask questions rather than assuming you know what they want
  • For those with questions take the time to answer their questions in words that they will understand.  
  • Don’t use too many industry terms unless they have shown you that they will understand them
  • If you have to attend other customers as well, let them know.

After The Sale

   • When a consumer buys from you, get their address, phone number, email, etc. and ask them how they prefer to be contacted.

   • Some people prefer a phone call, while others prefer an email or to be sent a letter.

   • If you do get complaints try to give them options regarding possible solutions.

   • Giving customers some control over the solution to the problem is more likely to make them feel more comfortable about the solution.

   • If consumers have to wait for a product give them the specifics on when they expect to receive it. If there are delays, inform them immediately as to what has happened and why. 

You want your customers to trust you and your products, to be happy they bought them and recommend you to others. The more transparent you can be with them the more this is likely to happen.  If your customers can see that you are doing the best, you can then the delay or problem that has arisen is much less likely to affect their willingness to buy from you again.

A tip of the glass from me to you

If you are interested in scheduling Sales & Customer Service Training for your sales staff, drop me email at

Elizabeth Slater,In Short Direct Marketing
Specializing in Customer Service & Sales Training That Works

T:  707.836.8730
C:  707.953.1289








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