The Law of Expectation
When does a luxury stop being something special and become part of the expected? Well, sooner than you think.
Only a few months ago Wi-Fi was not available in airplanes. It was one of the last places on earth, 30,000 feet above the earth, where one could truly unplug. But then someone figured out how to connect a moving plane to the web and suddenly such luxury became available on selected flights.
I just boarded a plane that does not have Wi-Fi. I was disappointed, even a bit upset because I now expect to get my email and text messages wherever I am, and fast.
I call this phenomenon the law of expectation. Globalization has accelerated the way new technologies and products reach us. Unwittingly it has accelerated the expectation of consumers as well. That is a tough proposition for those of us in the service industry, including churches and non-profits. The idea of going beyond the call of duty for your customer base becomes an ever-moving target–and a fast one at that.
Yesterday’s “wow” experience becomes today’s “ho-hum” and tomorrow’s “disappointing.” How can we ever keep up?
I don’t think the expectation race can be won by better technology or products alone. These are now commodities and you better have the latest and best or you will not be competitive for long. But I think the ultimate advantage in the law of expectation lies in the most basic of all business principles: great customer service from friendly and well-trained people.
Think about it. I will go out of my way to do business with people I like, visit stores that understand customer service like the Mac store or Nordstrom while driving by stores that offer the same products.