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False promises to customers - how to give your customers real hope

What customers expect from companies is not so easy to understand. In the service sector in particular, you don't want to see any mistakes. Of course, after all, good service doesn't just have to be "good", but ideally it has to exceed the customer's expectations!

We'll tell you four ways to ensure you don't make false promises to your customers.

What is a customer expectation?

Basically, this means all the needs, wishes and prejudices that the customer has towards your product or service. The way in which all of this is perceived by the end user is influenced by different factors.


If the customer has already had a positive or negative experience with your company, this is the decisive point as to whether they will come back to you or not.

Brand image

Your external appearance or, to put it more simply: your brand image and the reputation of your company can also be a major factor influencing what expectations and, above all, how high these are, for example with new customers.


The most important factor is what and how you promise your customer something. It is often just a small caption that you post on social media about a product or service, or you "guarantee" your customer directly, whether in person or over the phone, that the result will exceed their expectations. Precisely for this reason, promises to your customers should be very well thought out so that you are aware of whether they are realistic.

Four methods

Recognize and control situations

One can avoid unpleasant surprises by recognizing a situation in good time and managing the customer's expectations.

The time - You should keep the response time as short as possible to save the customer a long processing time. How it works? For example, let your customer know right at the beginning how long it will take to process the e-mail, or point out how long an appointment will most likely take.

You should also educate your customers about your company's policies early in the process. For example, a hairdresser could point out to the customer right at the beginning that due to the new "Corona regulations" and the lack of space in the shop, only two people are allowed to enter the barber shop. So the customer doesn't expect a nasty surprise when he first enters the store with three friends.

A clear choice of words

You can also avoid misunderstandings by using clear words. The task of service employees is to make it clear to the customer what the next step is. So if the employee does not express himself clearly, customers automatically always expect the best-case scenario. So you always start from the positive. For example, if you say: "Your goods will be delivered in 2-3 working days", the customer assumes that the goods will be with him in 2 days. Therefore, it is better to say: "It may take up to 3 working days for your goods to be delivered". The same applies if you tell your customer that you will call them back "soon". What does soon mean? For customers, the waiting time for the same is no longer than a few Minutes. However, you might mean an hour or two. Instead, give a fixed date and say: "I'll call you back at 1:00 p.m. today"!

Tip: It is best to always give yourself a little more buffer than you might actually need. It could happen that you can process the customer's problem or request faster than expected and inspire the customer with a fast response time.

Don't set the expectation too high

As an example, I would like to take a case from the cosmetics industry. The customer sees an Instagram ad about a make-up product that really shines on the model's skin! At that moment, the customer thinks: "I have to try this"! Arriving at the nearest cosmetics store, he asks for exactly this product in the same color. However, the employee sees immediately that the desired color is far too dark for the customer and then points this out to the customer. However, the customer remains stubborn and insists on trying this exact color as it looked perfect on the model!

The employee:

"Please don't expect the same result, because you have a completely different skin tone. If you don't like the result, that's no problem. We have a wide range of colors and one of them will definitely match your shade".

What exactly happened here? Customers accept a so-called "worst case scenario" in most cases without any problems if they are aware of this in advance

Clues. In this way you also avoid the risk of disappointing your customers. Also, always offer the customer an alternative option.

Adjust expectations that are too high

Excessive customer expectations are not uncommon.

First of all, you should pay attention to what you should not do:

  • Don't give your customers the feeling that they lack the necessary knowledge!

  • Don't teach him about his mistakes!

  • Don't lose patience!

The danger that you can quickly embarrass your customer and make them feel ashamed is too high if you simply ignore the factors mentioned above. The recipe for success: an open ear! Listen carefully enough to your customer to understand exactly what they actually want. For example, if a passenger wants to check in with three pieces of luggage, although they are only entitled to one piece of luggage, first try to find out why they thought they could travel with three suitcases. Ask him questions and then educate him about the options that would come up in this case. One study found that disgruntled customers value dignity and respect above all else. Therefore, never blame your customer and offer them a solution instead.

Conclusion - With the right promise you exceed customer expectations

In order to be successful nowadays, it is important not only to meet customer expectations, but to exceed them! With extensive methods and strategies, you can succeed in the simplest way in protecting your customers from disappointment. Collecting and understanding individual data thus leads to the desired WOW effect.

One thing is certain: only those who keep their promises have a chance of surviving in a constantly changing market!

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