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Manage Expectations By Establishing Them Clearly

I ordered a hand exercise product online last week. It was from a website that I stumbled across, and the product was what I was looking for. I placed my ordered and received an email confirmation of my order. And since then…nothing. No delivery of product, no notice of when to expect my shipment, nothing.

To be fair, there were no promises made anywhere on the website or in my confirmation email as to when my order would ship. And that’s where the problem lies.

My expectations (like many consumers, as I have written often before) is that every online seller can meet the standard set by Amazon. And that expectation is that I can have my product delivered for free within three business days. I know that’s not a fair expectation, but since I order most everything I buy online from Amazon, that is what it is. (In my case, I’m an Amazon Prime member and receive free TWO-DAY shipping.)

But any online retailer can manage my expectations by simply telling me what to expect. In the case above, the website and/or the email confirmation simply needs to explain how soon I should expect to receive my shipment. Ideally, if their standard shipping is 5-7 days (or whatever) they would also offer additional choices (with an additional fee, of course) for faster shipment.

So look at all of your order forms, whether they are printed or online, and for every product you sell (yes, even membership and event registrations). Are you telling the buyer what to expect from an order fulfillment perspective? If it’s a paper registration, when should I expect confirmation of registration? If it’s a product order, when should I expect shipment of my product? If it’s a membership join or renewal, when should I expect confirmation of my join or renewal?

You can manage the expectations of your members and customers by clearly communicating what they should expect.

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Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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