Service expert and professor at Texas A&M University, Leonard Berry says that "Studies have consistently shown that reliability, dependability, and competence meet customer expectations".
Meeting client expectations is certainly an important aspect of any business or professional relationship, but it may not be enough on its own. While meeting client expectations demonstrates that you are capable of delivering what was promised, it may not necessarily result in long-term success or client satisfaction.
What should we be aiming for?
Meeting expectations should be our baseline but what we really want to aim for is to exceed client expectations. However, if we fail to meet expectations with some of our clients, what should we do? Should we put more effort into improving the experience for those clients? Or should we take those clients who seemed pretty happy overall and try to take them to a whole new level of delight?
Take a look at the graphic below.
Would you put more effort into option A, moving all your unhappy clients to a position of neutrality, i.e. eliminate the negatives?, or would you focus on option B – moving your 4's, 5's, and 6's to a 7 i.e. relatively satisfied to utterly ecstatic?
Surely the people in Option B are already pretty happy so what's to gain by focussing more attention on them. So we need to fix the unhappy clients first, right?
The research says otherwise. It says that even the big guys, (I'm talking the likes of Disney, Porsche, and Southwest Airlines), focus 80% of their resources on trying to improve the experiences of seriously unhappy customers (option A). So 80% of their effort goes into eliminating the negatives.
On the other hand, according to research conducted by Forrester, prioritising elevation of the positives (option B) can result in approximately 9x the revenue compared to focusing on the eliminating the negatives.
This is a pretty eye-opening piece of information! So the question is, how do we do that?
Leveraging the "Peak-End Rule" To Create an Exceptional Client Experience
Creating a remarkable client experience is key. But, in order to leave a lasting impression on your clients, it's essential to understand the psychology behind their perception of an experience. This is where the Peak-End Rule comes into play.
By strategically applying this principle, you can create peak moments and ensure a positive end to your client interactions, elevating their experience to new heights.
So let's explore the power of the Peak-End Rule and provide you with practical strategies on how you can leverage it to enhance your client experience for continued business growth.
What is the "Peak-End Rule"?
The Peak-End Rule is a psychological phenomenon that suggests people's overall perception of an experience is strongly influenced by the emotional peaks and how it concludes.
In simpler terms, it means that we tend to remember and evaluate an experience based on the most intense moments and the way it ends, rather than considering the entire duration. This rule was first proposed by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues in the field of psychology.
To truly grasp the impact of the Peak-End Rule, it's important to understand the underlying cognitive processes. Our memories are not objective recordings of every moment; instead, they are reconstructed based on the emotional impressions we retain.
There are a few psychological factors at play:
Understanding these psychological factors helps us recognise why the Peak-End Rule has such influence over our memories.
By strategically creating peak moments and ensuring a positive ending to our client interactions, we can shape how our clients remember and evaluate their experience with us. This knowledge empowers us to intentionally design memorable experiences that leave a lasting impression, fostering stronger connections and increasing client satisfaction.
There's a reason why Disney end the day at their theme park with a spectacular fireworks show!
5 Practical Tips For Applying the Peak-End Rule To Your Client Experience
1. Create Memorable "Peak" Moments
2. Focus on Emotional Connection
3. Pay Attention to the Details
4. Deliver a Remarkable Conclusion
5. Embrace Technology for Digital Delivery
By incorporating these tips, you can create a client experience that exceeds your client's expectations every time, and will leave your clients feeling compelled to tell their friends about it.
Remember, it's not just about the final images you produce, but the emotional connection and memorable moments throughout the entire journey. By embracing the power of the Peak-End Rule and taking control of creating peak moments for your clients, you will elevate your client's experience, turn them into raving fans, and position your business for continued success.
In conclusion, meeting client expectations alone is insufficient for long-term success.
By leveraging the "Peak-End Rule," businesses can create exceptional client experiences that leave a lasting impression. This psychological phenomenon suggests that people's overall perception of an experience is heavily influenced by emotional peaks and how it concludes.
To apply the rule effectively, businesses should focus on creating memorable peak moments, fostering emotional connections, paying attention to details, delivering remarkable conclusions, and embracing technology for digital delivery as this typically happens at the end of the experience. By doing so, photographers can exceed client expectations, foster stronger relationships, and increase satisfaction, ultimately leading to continued business growth and success.