Richard Branson: How you exceed customer expectations

By Nitin Ruparelia, Loyalty Group

When one of the great business leaders preaches customer centricity , it is music to our ears - it confirms that it pays to think about the customer first in order to achieve success. Here is an excerpt from the article "Richard Branson on the Secret to Exceeding Customer Expectations" from entrepreneur.com. Richard Branson shares here his views on how to strengthen customer service and exceed customer expectations.

Richard Branson

"Did we live up to your expectations?"

This is a frequently asked question in customer surveys, which according to Richard Branson can be very misleading. As he says, customers have higher expectations for expensive products and services than they have for cheaper purchases.

Expensive products and services are more likely to fail and not live up to customer expectations because customers expect more initially because of the high price. If customers have a bad experience with cheap products and services, they are more likely to think "I got what I paid for."

Set realistic goals for customer expectations - and exceed them!

The key to success is, according to Richard Branson, to set realistic goals for customer expectations and then try to surpass them. It is about constantly ensuring a good customer experience - it is only when customer expectations are not met, that chaos occurs.

In the airline industry the old established airlines are still described as full service airlines, despite the fact that they have long ago ceased to deliver exceptional service. They promise more than they can deliver, and thus not living up to customers' expectations in the same way as the new discount airlines.

The whole organization must be on board 

Richard Branson stresses that it is necessary that the entire organization works in harmony with the company's brand image if customer expectations should be met. This is especially important for the frontline employees who have daily contact with customers.

It is crucial that they "live" the company's brand and are proud to work for the company. This leads to the additional effort that is necessary to ensure customer satisfaction.

This means that it doesn't cost extra to do things better than the competitors. Richard Branson says that it primarily requires creativity and focus on the processes of recruitment, training and management of staff. Getting a grip on these processes will put you in front related to the competitors.