Home Business Foundations

How you train your customers. Do you even know you’re doing it?

This article looks at how you inadvertently train your customers. Believe it or not, you are training your customers more than you realise.  Every time you do something in your business you train or reinforce your previous training in your customer’s minds.

This can be a good thing or it may not be.  It may be deliberate, or it may unintentional.  Most likely, you don’t even realise you’re doing it let alone how you train your customers on sometimes a daily basis.

I’ve been trained

A few years ago I was working with a business on a website redesign for my site (before SuperWAHM).  The business owner answered my emails very quickly, even on weekends.  And then one day I had to wait 24 hours for an email.  What?  I was stunned.  Why hadn’t she replied to me yet?  How long did I have to wait for a reply?  Sheesh….

This person hadn’t done anything wrong.  She simply took a day off.  However, because I had become accustomed to receiving an email reply within an hour or so, I was expecting that to continue.  I’d been trained.

You’re training your customers too

You do this with your customers, whether you realise it or not.  You train your customers to have certain expectations around your business, both good and bad.  They get accustomed to how you:

  • Answer emails
  • Send out newsletters
  • Publish blog posts
  • Your writing style and tone
  • Offer discounts.  A lot of customers will never buy from you at full price as you’ve trained them to wait for discounts.  Oops…
  • Reply on forums
  • Sales process
  • Package products – your branding, style of packaging and what you use
  • Your tone in any communications with your customers

Everything you do will train your customers

Every single time you interact, directly or indirectly, with your customers you are setting up an expectation and experience in their minds.

  • If you used to send your packages beautifully wrapped in tissue paper with gold stickers and curly ribbons, and you change that because of time, cost, whatever; you’ll have disappointed customers.
  • If you normally answer emails within an hour or so, and then take a day off; you’ll have people asking why it took you so long to reply.

There is nothing wrong with either of these two scenarios.  It’s simply about managing customer expectations and your personal boundaries.  If you tell your customers that you’re changing the packaging, in advance, then they’ll be expecting it.  If you tell your customers that weekends are just for your family and you don’t do business on weekends, they won’t expect emails from you then.

On the other hand, if you publish blog posts on a schedule then you need to make sure you have posts written in advance so you can keep to that schedule.  Miss a post at the normal time and readers will start asking what’s going on, and wondering why you missed it.

It’s all about what your customers have been trained to expect from you.

Make it intentional

No matter what it is, you are training your customers’ expectations of you and your business.  You may not even be aware that you’re doing it.  You are.  Make it deliberate, think about how your actions are impacting your customers, manage those expectations.

What do you think?  How are you training your customers?  What stories do you have about changing customer expectations?

Melinda Jameson

Melinda is the founder of SuperWAHM.com and started this site to share her best work from home ideas to help other Work At Home Mums become more financially independent and able to spend time with their families.

5 thoughts on “How you train your customers. Do you even know you’re doing it?

  • Great post. when we train our customer its for sure that we expect good results from them.

  • Thanks Marina. 🙂

    I’ve found from being the customer that an email to let you know about upcoming changes goes a long way to managing the whole experience in a positive way.

  • Wow! A timely reminder that it’s easy to disappoint our customers if we aren’t communicating often with them.

    Running a business using systems is a good way to ensure a quality standard. The lesson I learned from your post is that adding communication tasks to those systems can avoid serious disappointment should anything change.

  • We do, and most people don’t realise that they’re doing it. Heck, I forget a lot of the time! It’s part of the whole customer experience that people have with us – good or bad.

  • Excellent post Mel! I never thought about it that way.

    We’re the ones who train our customers/clients/readers to have expectations of us.

Comments are closed.