By Sara Gentry, Account Manager, CrowdFiber
No matter what area of business you work in, managing consumer expectations is important to consider. This holds true within the telecom industry, whether you’re building in a new area, expanding an existing service area, or simply managing current subscribers.
Lucas Singleton, the customer success manager for CrowdFiber, says it perfectly.
“The foundation of proper expectation management is being as authentic and transparent as possible, while viewing the situation from the shoes of the person whose expectations you’re managing … rather than thinking of ways to cover yourself,” says Singleton.
At CrowdFiber, we work with service providers of all sizes from across the country who use our software as their sales and marketing automation platform. Through our work with hundreds of broadband providers over the last decade, we learned a thing or two about launching broadband service, expanding service to new areas and understanding the consumers of OUR customers.
One of the most important things to consider when dealing with the public is managing expectations.
You never want to overpromise and underdeliver, leaving consumers disappointed and angry.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, there are a few things you can take into consideration.
1. Understand Your Audience
First, it’s important to understand your audience and know what’s relevant to them. Based on what you know about your community, communicate with them regularly with relevant information. Irrelevant information can be even worse than no information.
2. Be Realistic
Next, when setting deadlines, keep in mind that it is always best to overdeliver. It may make sense to build in some buffer time to make sure the deadlines you set are realistic and can be met.
After setting your deadlines, make sure to hit them! By delivering on your promises, your consumers will know they can count on you. If something out of your control happens, forcing you to move a deadline, just be honest and upfront. Let your folks know as far in advance as possible that the deadline is moving. Always set a new deadline and don’t leave the timeline open ended — communicate your new timeline as soon as possible.
3. Keep Talking
Another important aspect to consider is communication. You may have heard the phrase “no news is good news,” but we disagree. In our experience, “no news” just leads to upset consumers.
Stay in constant communication with your customers. Let them in on the process: the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have a setback, let them know. If you land a grant, let them know, if and when you’re able. If you start or finish a new build, let them know. Celebrate your wins with your community. Social media can be a great avenue for this. Wherever you choose to communicate, make sure someone is monitoring the site to keep the conversation going (and prevent it from becoming a complaints page).
4. Avoid Disappointment
No matter how easy it may seem in the moment, do NOT make promises you can’t keep. This only leads to disappointment, frustration and anger. Some of the best marketing you can get doesn’t cost you a dime. Glowing reviews from consumers are free! But the same goes for bad reviews. If consumers feel lied to, they will let their friends, family and neighbors know they’ve been burned.
5. Show Gratitude
Finally, make sure your consumers know how grateful you are for them. There would be no you without them. Remember to express your gratitude every chance you’re able. This can take the form of a social media post, free swag at an event or offering a referral discount for future service. Let your folks know you are happy and grateful they chose you!