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Marketing, customer satisfaction and loyalty
Satisfied customers will follow you everywhere

Customer satisfaction is all about expectations : a real example

My good friend (and former customer) Patrick Mascart is in the photo/video business and has also become an expert in aerial photo and video services. Through his agency he has worked for prestigious clients like the European Commission and many other large organizations.
The other day he posted on Facebook the transcript of a phone call he just received. You’ll learn a lot about customer satisfaction. Read further.

The story

Here’s the story Patrick posted on Facebok

Client : I’d need your services for an event from 8:30am until 7pm. Could you tell me what your conditions are. I need only 50 pictures.
Patrick : for a day like this our pricing starts at 700€ including retouching
Client : Pardon me ? It’s out of question. On shutterstock I pay 160€ for 750 images per month
Patrick : you may want to contact Shutterstock for pictures of your event then

Client : I propose to pay 2.5€/picture
Patrick : ok for 2.5€/picture ; given the quality of your event and the number of speakers you’ll get about 400 images
Client : it’s out of our budget Sir

The analysis : how customer dissatisfaction was formed

There are two main insights from this story. Both are related to customer (dis)satisfaction.
The first level of analysis tells us that customers form expectations and when those are not met dissatisfaction may arise. In the case of Patrick, his customer was expecting a much lower price and was dissatisfied to be faced with another reality.
The second level of analysis stems from the behavioral economics field. How did the customer form those expectations ? Behavioral economics tells us that the referential was wrong. Faced with a new decision, customers are looking for reference points to evaluate their purchase decision. Sometimes they chose the wrong reference. Popular wisdom says that one compared apples with pears.

What Behavioral economics teaches us 

If you want to put a new product / service on the market or if your prospective customers are likely to have little former knowledge about your services, you may want to place yourself the reference points. Placing a product among other products positioned in the same segment will help customers build a referential and form expectations. In his book Dan Ariely tells the story of how black pearls were introduced on the market by presenting them among high-end jewels. Customers had no former references and suddenly they were taught that black pearls ranked on the same level as precious stones.

What should Patrick have done ?

Patrick’s website is the entry point for new requests. He should ensure that the positioning of his services is well understood. He could for instance build visual analogies (with for instance tailor’s services or any other high-end type of service) or oppose his services to others he knows can’t be compared.
Last but not least this kind of reaction, if frequent, should trigger Patrick to think about a new class of services that may be expected by the market.


Image : shutterstock

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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1 Comment

  1. Nowadays customers have a lot of sources to get the things which give rise to all these expectations where they are the king to demand as per their expectations and it is a must for a service provider to satisfy their customers. It was nice reading the articles especially the facebook example.

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