You’ll Never Go Wrong Exceeding Expectations

Asking the Right QuestionsThe best way to get the right answers is to ask the right questions. Makes sense, huh?

The problem comes when the wrong questions appear to be the right ones. Confused yet? Read on — because it really comes down to asking one question right.

Don’t Run Your Business Like the Big Boys

Big business constantly asks the wrong questions — questions that perpetuate the status quo. They ask “how can we keep stockholders happy?” or “how can we squeeze another dime from our customers without having to do anything?” Even when a company has a raving cult-like following, they are constantly looking for a way to satisfy their own interests — even at the expense of those fans.

When it comes to being a niche player, knowledge expert, or information guru, you can’t run things that way. It’s a sure-fire way to fall flat on your ass.

But you can be hugely successful just by asking yourself one simple question:

How can I exceed my customers’ expectations?

Letting Your 2 Minds Find the Balance

When you ask that question (and ask it as often as possible) your unconscious or creative mind goes to work to find the answer. You’ll begin to notice things all around you that point to the answer.

Some answers will be impractical. Of course offering everything for free will exceed your customer expectations, but you won’t stay in business too long doing that.

That’s when you use your pragmatic and logical mind to put the answer to the test:

  • Is it doable?
  • Does it make sense?
  • What will it cost?
  • Is it a short-term or long-term thing?
  • How does it add value?

Let your creative mind draw out the answer from deep inside, then your pragmatic mind can determine how realistic the idea is. This balance will help you find real ways to exceed your customers’ expectations.

That one question can change the way you do business. It’s one of those powerful questions that can help ensure your success.


  1. I think even big business is starting to shift to their focus toward making their customers happy instead of their shareholders. I’m no expert but from what I have been reading it seems big business is trying to change.

  2. I don’t know, but many big business DO care a LOT about their customer satisfaction because of the HUGE competition out there.

    Why do you think the USA is so rich and the people here have more wealth than anywhere else?

    I think they are doing too hard to try and satisfy the customers.

    Just my opinion.

  3. Two good questions I tell my students to ask when they meet new potential clients…
    1. What do you like most about the service you’re using now?
    2. If there was one thing you’d like to see this service change, what would it be?
    Both of these questions will give a business person a wealth of information that will help him or her find out what their customers what or expect, and how to exceed those expectations.

  4. Absolutely true.

    I’d like to add that it is equally important to nail the basics first. On time delivery, good communication (i.e. listen!), excellent work must come first. Then, it becomes easy and fun to exceed expectations.

  5. I agree with this post, but there’s one thing that remains to be mentioned when it comes to keeping the mindset of exceeding your client’s expectations: do not overpromise.

    There are numerous instances wherein a company, especially startups, tends to offer a lot of things to potential and current clients that far exceed their realistic capacities. They do this in order to close this deal or that project, offering many concessions along the way, only to find out at the end that they probably offered more than they bargained for. When the bar is raised too high from the start, it will be difficult to top that up and be able to bring more value to the customer.

    Exceeding expectations are attainable if one sets their client’s expectations to realistic levels in the first place. Without this cornerstone, any efforts you make to exceed that expectation will leave you panting and breathless without any significant effect.

  6. Great Post!

    I personally recommend setting up a Customer Appreciation Plan or something like that which will have planned surprises and benefits for your clients. This way you can create a system to constantly exceed your clients expectations.

    Thanks for the post,

    – Mason

  7. You can also exceed your clients’ expectations by automating some tasks and then providing that service at no cost. For instance I have a utility that instantly converts my MS word document text into nicely formatted HMTL source that they can straightaway copy and paste into their blog posts. If nothing else, this saves them 5-10 minutes, and they are not even expecting it.

  8. You are absolutely right – if we all could trust our own inner intuition and open our eyes, we’d find the answer in the most unexpected ways.

    I would venture to say that most of us out there believe in a higher power. Why not put that power to work for us? Our inner spirit knows all the answers – all we have to do is tap into it and find our way.

    Great article! BTW, I gave your site a little plug over at my blog (which will eventually be moving to a new site).

    I really enjoy subscribing to your blog and look forward to more wisdom from you!


  9. Bubs – You’re right, many are. Unfortunately, they are still the minority.

    WarriorBlog – Yes, some do. But just take a look at the business headlines and you’ll see too much of the opposite (Apple, anyone?).

    Jim – That’s excellent advice. I wrote about a similar approach in another post.

    Jason – Great point. Many businesses try to give perks when they haven’t even figured out basic customer service stuff.

    Jonathan – Absolutely. The first step in exceeding expectations is managing expectations. Over promising during the sales cycle, then under delivering after the sale, is a quick road to going out of business.

    Mason – Rewards programs are a terrific way to help build loyalty. As long as they are coupled with a good CS foundation.

    Amrit – That’s so true. Using an automating process may be simple on your end, but really shows that you’re thinking of your customers’ time.

    Stephen – Whether someone believes in a higher power or not, they should definitely believe in themselves and their gut. If you take the time to listen inside, you’ll know if the approach is the right one.

  10. This is slightly off the subject, because I’m writing as a would-be consumer. I could use some consulting on WordPress. Do you know of anyone who is willing to take on small jobs like that? I wrote to Dawud, but I don’t know if this is relevant to his interests. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have two blogs up and running, but I have a few questions. If I found the right person I would no doubt be a long-term, albeit small, customer.

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