On expectations

Lately I’ve been getting back into reading Josh Kaufmann’s ‘The personal MBA’. It’s a good book. I’d highly recommend it. Before I begin the article in earnest I’ll tell you a funny (sort off) little story!

In my spare time I like to do some instructing at my local climbing wall. A lot of the instructors there are freelance. One of my fellow instructors and I were chilling in the cafe between sessions of screaming kids hyped up on Coke when she noticed the book I had set on the counter whilst I was chatting with the cafe staff. She questioned me on it, asking what I thought about it. I told her that so far I thought it was good. I liked the straight forwardness of his language and the overall aim of the book. I did confess to thinking that some things, especially at the beginning of the book seemed a little basic. I thought that for instance if you gave any reasonable person a pen and piece of paper and asked them to jot down their thoughts on a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) you would get something that hit on most of the points the book made. I don’t consider this a bad thing. Two other books I have read, 9 Out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes: Navigation Through the Maze of Advice for the Self-coached Climber by Dave MacLeod and The Inner Game of Tennis by Gallwey, W.Timothy both discussed aspects of climbing and tennis respectively that I found to be common sense, however there was something valuable in hearing someone else say these things that I was thinking. It reinforced the points in my head and gave me more confidence to more fully stand behind them.

So after giving her my 1 minute review of the book I said to her that I was contemplating doing an actual MBA at one point in time however having been working in a SMB for about 7 years now I felt that I had absorbed so much from that experience that I didn’t need a full MBA anymore and so I decided to do some personal development on the matter instead. In addition I said I also thought that a lot of people who had done a little bit of work would benefit from doing the same and that a lot of the time a full MBA course wasn’t actually required… that’s when she said in addition to working she was in the middle of doing her MBA! Luckily she didn’t take offence and as it turns out she is doing a specialised derivation of an MBA which I’m more willing to believe people could benefit from having it traditionally taught (though I’m still on the fence).

Anyway enough rambling Richard! On to the point; Expectations!

I believe it to be common sense but sometimes common sense needs to be championed in this bizarre world, especially in business. Whether you provide a product or service your aim should be to delight and exceed the expectations of your customers! A recent case where I wasn’t delighted was eBay & Paypal. I had ordered a iPad mini off eBay and it turns out that the seller was a scammer and didn’t send the item or communicate at all. The fact that the seller was scamming was obvious once the delivery date had slipped by a few days and still no product. In addition they weren’t communicating why it was late. Even taking all this into account eBay wouldn’t allow me to file for a complete refund for another week or so (why?). That’s the first mis step. The next came when I did eventually elevate the case to eBay. eBay did rule in my favour the next day and refunded the money. This is where I had a problem. My expectation was that since I was a victim of fraud and eBay ruled in my favour PayPal would get me my money back immediately. Not the case! I was indeed refunded a few days after having the case ruled in my favour however 4 days later I am still waiting to have the actual money put in my bank account.

If PayPal were smart and more eager to keep myself and others as customers they would do more. Honestly I didn’t expect the money in my account immediately. I thought it would take a day or a little bit longer. However here was a great opportunity for PayPal to surpass my expectations and get me my money almost immediately. That would have left me with a feeling of PayPal being efficient and looking after me instead of it being the other way round and me feeling that it has taken far too long for me to get my money back to be able to use again. This was a terrible missed opportunity. I know they can do it, they use risk reversal well enough to encourage the purchase in the first place, they just need to put more attention on the process when things don’t go smoothly.

Apologies for the slight rambling dear reader. It happened that I was reading about excelling expectations when this was happening and I thought it a good chance to promote the common sense tactic for business.


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