One Step Ahead: The Role of Expectation Management in Customer Satisfaction

Effective management of people, organizations, and projects comprises a large body of the data in organizational psychology. The pursuit of better, faster, more efficient, and more effective management tools is also big business. Companies are constantly clamoring to identify software that can automate and improve systems and processes, alongside attracting the human capital needed to not only implement software, but also develop and nurture the teams needed to drive a company to success.

With this in mind, those at the top of any organization, when faced with making critical decisions, must have high expectations of performance as well as outcomes. Expectations, however, can be a double-edged sword. If you set expectations too low, it is nearly impossible to motivate teams and affect performance in any sort of meaningful way. If expectations are set too high, the risk of being disappointed with outcomes is likely.

Expectation management plays a key role in the success of teams and organizations, but also directly in the satisfaction of customers with a particular product or service. Expectation is ‘a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future’. When companies over promise and under deliver, their customers are looking to a future that is not possible. Neither is satisfaction in this case.

Warren Buffet is famously quoted as having said, “The secret to happiness is having low expectations.” While this may work as a personal mantra, and likely stands to significantly improve interpersonal relationships, it runs contrary to all consumer motivations which require some probability that a particular product or service will, in fact, fulfill a need or want, or make something better.

At GuideCX, we consider ourselves experts in expectation management and customer satisfaction. For us, the two go hand-in-hand. With over 10,000 completed product and process installs, we have learned a few things about customer satisfaction. One of the most important things we have learned is that keeping customers in the loop significantly improves satisfaction and outcomes. In our experience, there are two keys to keeping a customer in the loop.


Communication conveys knowledge and knowledge is power. Whether by email, phone, in person, or otherwise, it is the ‘how’ in information delivery. Regardless of the how, it is critical to maintain continuous communication and ensure that customers have insight and access to the information they need to make decisions that impact their organizations.

Automating communication, or providing online tools that offer customers an accounting of tasks, project status, responsible parties, and timelines, are some of the ways technology can increase transparency and improve the customer experience. By bringing customers into your project management process, you allow them to manage their own expectations and experience ownership in their role in the process.


Staying ahead of your customers is one of the best ways to keep customers engaged and satisfied. Anticipating concerns and addressing them before they become an issue allows you to always stay at least one step ahead. It also allows you to provide adequate notice if things are running behind. Simply put, just giving a heads up goes a long way in making your customers feel like you are a valued partner.

The right project management tracking tools become integral in properly managing internal tasks to a degree that allows you to see bumps in the road and manage them accordingly. This includes having the ability to communicate with your customer before deadlines pass and disappointment sets in.

While not every difficult customer conversation or situation can be prevented, many can. In our experience, automating the customer experience has significant tangible results, including reducing go-time / implementation time by nearly 30% and increasing positive customer outcomes by a similar percentage.

If you are ready to get a step ahead instead of feeling a step behind your processes and customer relationships, reach out today to speak with a GuideCX representative.