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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Managing Customer Expectations

Posted on June 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

As an industry that prides itself on doing custom work, we like to promise the moon and stars. No wish or desire is too grand, no hope or dream too elaborate or unobtainable. “You want the lights to turn on, the thermostat to drop, the blinds to raise, and the music to start playing the Rocky theme at full volume every time you walk into this room? Yep, sounds totally reasonable to me!”

And the truth is, when the budget and timeline allow, there isn’t much that we can’t make happen. Just flip through the annual CEDIA Lifestyle awards book for some of the magic that your brother (and sister) installers have pulled off.

But there are other times where you might need to dial-back the customer’s – or even your own – expectations a bit so that they are more realistically aligned with what they are getting. For instance, after they sit through a demo in your six-figure theater and then say, “Wow! So my system will be just like this, right?” when their budget is a fraction of what just the chairs in your room cost.

More likely, expectations need to be tempered when you are taking over another project. What hopes and ideas are you stepping into that might not be true or even possible?

I had four real-world instances recently where managing expectations (or not in one case) were crucial…

Job Takeover #1

A customer came in and said he needed a new receiver. His was apparently blown and needed to be replaced. He had been working with another company that had come out, spec’d everything in, said they ordered the products, and even set an install date but then just…poof! Vanished.  Wouldn’t take any more calls, wouldn’t return e-mails, just dropped off the face of the earth. Thanks for the new customer, buddy! So as the gentleman was describing his system and his expectations, he continually said, “And the other installer said…” and, “The other installer promised…” So after a few minutes of this where it was clear that some of these other promises were not accurate (like being able to use the receiver’s basic remote as a full system controller), I politely stopped him and said, “The other installer also said he would come back and finish your job. And he hasn’t. So let’s stop focusing on what the other guy told you it would do, and talk about what the system really will do. And what we need to install to make sure it does what you want it to.”

Click here to read three more real world examples of managing expectations...

Categories: June 2013, CTA

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