Underpromise and overdeliver. These words have been around for quite some time, and they're still useful as a slice of glib, highly generalized business advice. However, executives beware — the inverse is even more important. If you overpromise and underdeliver, bad things are going to happen.
One of the biggest gaps modern C-suite members must address is the one between customer expectations and company communications. Used properly, cloud technology is the hero businesses need to bridge it. With the right cloud business process at your company's command, managing expectation-breaking concerns such as scale and effective communication becomes a far easier process. Without one, you may well shoot for the moon and end up in Toledo.
Here's a look at the world of expectation management and how the cloud can help:
Expanding to Scale
Let's say you're a mid-market business with plenty of room to grow. You have all the pieces to operate at your current size, but the complexity that comes with added growth gives you pause. After all, you know what happens when a healthy business grows too fast.
Why does this matter in a conversation about expectations? Growth is a form of communication just like any other. In many industries, it's a way to tell customers you're ready to meet them in a new place. Do a good job, and it's business as usual. Bungle it, and your reputation takes a nosedive because the expectations you've set have been unmet.
Here, the most useful cloud business process is supporting scalability. By understanding cloud technology and putting it in the right strategic spots, you can replicate locations, manage IT from a centralized location, and monitor performance and other location-specific metrics. Once you get regular reporting or customer relationship management down to a repeatable, scalable, cloud-backed science, your market is your oyster. In turn, this makes it easier than ever to keep the expectations you set — implicit or otherwise.
With the right cloud business process at your company's command, managing expectation-breaking concerns such as scale and effective communication becomes a far easier process.
Managing Cloud Business Process Improvements
Other times, managing communications becomes quite literal in the managing expectations game. Being able to easily communicate one-to-one and one-to-thousands is a major bonus of doing business in the digital era, and cloud business processes make things even less complicated.
To modern customers, prompt responses to all communications across channels is a baseline expectation. The cloud can help in several ways. For instance, the company struggling to handle a high and rising volume of inbound customer communications could use cloud technology to make the replication of its contact centers an exact science. Another might deploy a cloud-based customer relations solution to centralize the influx and keep better control of the situation.
"Centralize" is perhaps the most important word there. With cloud-based communication tools, gone are the days of regional contact centers and siloed divisions. Instead, businesses can operate and project to customers as a cohesive entity. This ability to manage relationships from anywhere undoubtedly seems like a foregone conclusion to companies that have already harnessed the capability. To those who haven't, it's time to plan a change.
The cloud can also help organizations master that old chestnut about finding out what customers want and meeting them there. Through the lens of managing expectations, powerful data analysis tools make it easier to mine structured and unstructured data from multiple formats. For example, a company could sift through contact center data in search of popular complaint topics or mine through public social media posts to see which failed expectations get people grumbling. Either way, a solid set of parameters and cloud technology are often all a company needs to make measured decisions about the expectations it communicates.
Managing Expectations is Easier Than Ever in the Cloud Era
The digital era is a great time to be a customer. For the same reasons, it can be a challenging time to be a business. Though setting and managing expectations has long been a concern for companies large enough to count image and reputation as primary success qualities, the pressure is higher than ever. Between heightened customer expectations and larger-than-ever platforms for them to voice displeasure, sometimes it literally takes one slipup for serious problems to arise.
Fortunately, technology can also be harnessed to the company's benefit. Cloud technology elevates the modern business's ability to keep the promises it makes, whether direct or implied. Your company has undoubtedly moved a lot of its functions to the cloud already — now it's time to put them to use on the processes that dictate customer expectations. If your clientele doesn't thank you for it, they'll at least be less likely to complain.
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