written by john lewis

Exceeding your customers expectations… yeah right!

S had an interesting experience late last week with everyone’s favourite state-owned postal service. We’ve been living to a bit of a tighter budget lately in an effort to save some dosh. So with S’s younger sister having her 23rd birthday S collected a bunch of wee presents and went to the post shop to send them down to Dunedin.

The task she wanted to complete was simple:

  • send items to Dunedin
  • but at a reasonable price
  • and quickly enough so they would make it by Monday (this was on Friday)

After watching the person ahead of her in line get mauled by a particularly shitty service representative while trying to pay a bill, S walked up and started to communicate what she wanted. Needless to say, she received some pretty crappy service.

S learned for the first time that NZ Post has stopped the “Fast Post” option for packages so she now had two choices. Normal post for $10 which would take 3 days or courier post for $33 which would arrive overnight. So faced with having to choose between the package arriving a day late for the birthday date or paying 3 times the price S decided on the slower and cheaper option. Understandably she was a little disappointed that her sister wouldn’t receive the package in time for her birthday.

S then received a text message from her sister the next day… the package had arrived!

Now, the service S received was hopelessly poor. She left feeling absolutely wild and in no way did the representative try to help S complete her task – she just wanted to go through the motions/process.

So NZ Post technically exceed her expectations. The package arrived early and that meant it was there in time for her sister’s birthday – and this meant something personally to S.

Normally when a customer has their expectations exceeded, they like to tell a few people and spread the word. When they’re not meet at all they’ll tell around 10 people of their negative experience.

Because of the needlessly bad service S received while trying to complete her task, she has told a number of people of her negative experience even though her expectations were exceeded! Having the package arrive early means she feels that the service representative didn’t know her job or what she was talking about.

So congratulations NZ Post, as far as you’re probably concerned you did a great job and got a package to a destination in a fraction of the time you said it would take. But you’ve also just ensured your customer will tell people of a bad experience and you’ve also ensured she’ll never pay for the more expensive (and more profitable) option.

If you want to exceed someone’s expectations and create a positive experience, you have to treat people like they’re your valued customers…

Posted in: Rants, Work



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