Understanding Customer Expectations of Service
- ISSN: 0019848X
To understand the nature of customers' service expectations and identify the factors that influence the formation of these expectations, focus group interviews were conducted with customers in 6 service sectors. Eight of the focus group interviews were with business customers, and 8 were with consumers. Minimal differences were found between the 2 groups. Customers expect service companies to do what they are supposed to do, and they expect performance, not empty promises. One key influence on customers' expectations is price. Many customers believe that, the more they pay, the better the service should be, although they do not believe that a low price is a legitimate excuse for poor service. Customer service expectations can be categorized into 5 overall dimensions: reliability, tangibles, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. The findings suggest that customers' service expectations have 2 levels: desired and adequate. Many customers want ongoing, personalized relationships with the same representatives.