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Expectations, we all have them! What do you do when your expectations are not met by a vendor or service provider? How are your expectations categorized? Are your expectations set too high as a customer? Do your expectations change based on how much you paid for a service or product? Are your expectations fair? Are you expecting too much? 

Now, let’s switch to the other side of the fence where we are the service provider and need to meet a customer's expectations. To meet a customer's expectations, we first need to know what they expect. Asking a customer about their expectations would make for excellent opening conversation.

Are your customer's expectations based on getting the lowest price, on-time deliveries, damage-free shipments, professionalism, safety, capacity? This list could go on and on. 

I often compare a customer’s expectations with the restaurant industry. Some restaurants cater to quick service, low cost, high nutrition, ethnicity, high-end pampered service, romantic settings, catering, business settings, and once again, the list goes on and on. 

The key is to cater to the clientele you are aiming to serve, followed by assessing the market to see if the services you are bringing to the table are needed. It would be unwise to open a five-star deluxe restaurant in a market that has its priorities on a quick, low-cost lunch. 

Managing the expectations of your customers goes a long way in creating a long-lasting relationship with your customers. 

  1. Make sure you offer the services which answer your customers' needs.
  2. Know the market to be served.
  3. Pay attention to market trends to stay ahead of the competition. 
  4. Relentlessly explore areas where your services solve a problem for your customer. 
  5. Remember that you are representing not just your company but also the shipper who hired you. 

It’s also important to be honest with your customers when you do not have the capabilities to meet their needs. It’s better to walk away from jobs beyond your capabilities than to lose your reputation with a customer. 

The old adage of under-promising and over-delivering comes to mind as a final statement on the subject of customer expectations.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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