Customer expectations are the desired outcomes of a product or service that is being provided. They are based on what is promised, or what is expected to be delivered, to the customer. In project management, customer expectations are the requirements, specifications and expectations that the customer has of the project team or the outcome of their project. These expectations must be identified, understood and managed in order to ensure successful project delivery and customer satisfaction. It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that customer expectations are met and that customer feedback is taken into consideration for future projects.
Example of customer expectations
- Time: Customers expect their project to be delivered on time and within budget.
- Quality: Customers expect their project to be of the highest quality. They expect that the project will meet their specific requirements and that any errors or defects will be corrected promptly.
- Communication: Customers expect regular communication from the project team. They want to be kept informed of the progress of their project and any changes that have been made.
- Cost: Customers expect the project to be delivered at a reasonable price. They want to ensure that the project is completed within their budget and that any additional costs are justified.
- Flexibility: Customers expect the project team to be flexible in order to meet changing customer needs. They expect the team to be able to adjust the project plan to meet new requirements and respond to customer feedback.
- Support: Customers expect the project team to provide post-project support. This includes assistance with any problems or issues that may arise after the project is completed.
Best practices of customer expectations
- Establish Clear Expectations: The first step in managing customer expectations is to ensure that everyone involved in the project has a clear understanding of what the customer wants and needs. This means that the project team needs to clearly communicate the customer’s goals and objectives, as well as their expectations, to all stakeholders.
- Document Customer Requirements: It is important to document customer requirements in order to ensure that customer expectations are met. This helps to ensure that the project team is aware of any changes that need to be made to the project in order to meet customer needs.
- Communicate Regularly: A key part of managing customer expectations is regular communication between the customer and the project team. This allows the team to keep the customer informed of progress and any changes that may occur.
- Monitor Customer Satisfaction: It is important to regularly monitor customer satisfaction in order to ensure that customer expectations are being met and that the project is going according to plan. This can be done through customer surveys, focus groups or other methods.
- Address Problems Quickly: If there are problems that arise during the course of the project, it is important to address them quickly in order to ensure customer satisfaction. This may mean making changes to the project plan or finding a solution to any issues that arise.
- Be Flexible: Customers may have changing needs or expectations during the course of the project. It is important for the project team to be flexible and able to adapt to customer needs in order to ensure the success of the project.
When to use customer expectations
Customer expectations should be used in the following circumstances:
- Before a project begins, customer expectations should be identified, understood and managed to ensure successful project delivery and customer satisfaction.
- During the project, customer feedback should be taken into consideration in order to ensure that expectations are met.
- After a project is completed, customer feedback should be used to assess how well customer expectations were met.
- Going forward, customer feedback should be used to inform project decisions and strategies.
- Customer expectations should also be taken into account when developing new products and services.
Advantages of customer expectations
Customer expectations are an important element in any business, as they provide a benchmark for the quality of services and products offered. They ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty, and help to build trust between the customer and the business. Below are some of the advantages of setting customer expectations:
- They help to ensure that customer needs are met and that products and services are of the highest quality.
- They provide a standard of customer service to ensure customer satisfaction.
- They can help to build customer loyalty, as customers know what to expect and will keep returning for services and products.
- They help to create a competitive advantage by setting service and product standards that other businesses may not be able to match.
- They can help to establish trust between the customer and the business, as customers know what to expect from their interactions.
- They can help to manage customer expectations, as customers are aware of what to expect from the business before they make a purchase.
Limitations of customer expectations
Customer expectations can be difficult to manage and can be the cause of project failure if not carefully managed. The following are some of the limitations of customer expectations:
- Unrealistic or unclear expectations: Customers may have unrealistic or unclear expectations of the project, which can lead to misunderstandings and poor project outcomes.
- Changing expectations: Customers may change their expectations during the course of the project, which can cause delays and increases in cost.
- Limited resources: Customers may not have the necessary resources to meet their expectations, which can lead to project delays and a decrease in quality.
- Lack of communication: Customers may not adequately communicate their expectations, which can lead to misunderstandings and a failure to meet the customer’s needs.
- Unreasonable timelines: Customers may set unrealistic timelines for the project, which can lead to delays and missed deadlines.
|Customer expectations — recommended articles|
|Success of the project — Development of the project — Life cycle approach — Measures of project success — Accountability and transparency — Objectives of the project — Project change management — Integrated project management — Importance of project management|
- Parasuraman, A., Berry, L. L., & Zeithaml, V. A. (1991). Understanding customer expectations of service. MIT sloan management review.
- Zeithaml, V. A., Berry, L. L., & Parasuraman, A. (1993). The nature and determinants of customer expectations of service. Journal of the academy of Marketing Science, 21, 1-12.
- Ojasalo, J. (2001). Managing customer expectations in professional services. Managing service quality: An international Journal.