Episode 291: Matt and Josh talk about high expectations and how to exceed them

Company Culture, Guest Experience, Podcast

This episode is kindly sponsored by Attractions.io, the guest experience platform behind Merlin Entertainments’, San Diego Zoo’s, and the PGA Championship’s branded mobile apps. Like us, the team at Attractions.io are on a mission to elevate our guest experiences and ensure they exceed the expectations of today’s digitally native guests. By combining a branded mobile app with an operator console that consolidates behavioral data from every touchpoint in the guest journey, the Attractions.io platform empowers operators with the tools they need to increase guest satisfaction, spending, and loyalty. To learn more about how Attractions.io can help you connect your end-to-end guest experience, visit Attractions.io/howitworks.

Expectations are funny things. As businesses, we strive to exceed them so our guests will want to come back and also share their great experiences with others. The problem is that each guest may have a different set of expectations based on various inputs and experiences, so defining what the expectations are and what exceeding them looks like can be a challenge. In this episode, Matt shares a recent experience where the perception of exceeding expectations was thought to possibly have a negative connotation, which was quite a surprise. Matt asked Josh for his thoughts, and the following conversation about high expectations and how to exceed them was born.

Expectations and experiences are both difficult to define

Expectations and experiences are in the eye of the beholder. With varied backgrounds, inputs, stimuli, and reactions, it’s unlikely that different people will perceive that same experience in the same way. Businesses that can seek to understand the majority of their guests’ expectations and design experiences to exceed those expectations will be the ones who can consistently captivate their audiences.

Over-promise and over-deliver your over-promise

When marketing an experience, organizations have to strike a fine balance between driving the anticipation of their offerings and the execution in real-time. Many will say, under-promise, so your delivery will create a WOW for your guests. We discuss a different tactic; to over-promise AND over-deliver on your over-promise! In the highly competitive market for your guests’ free time and disposable income, you must entice them to visit, get off the couch, get the kids ready, research your policies and hours, and make the decision to give you a try. That takes a compelling message that, if mishandled, could mean that people choose a different outlet for their entertainment. This tactic also means you HAVE to execute at the highest levels because you have raised the stakes, and your guests will be waiting to see if you can deliver.

The intangible moments are where you go beyond what you promised

We’ve all had those moments. Those instances that elevate our view of the experience and make it memorable. Like expectations, those moments can be hard to define, but you know it when you feel it. The best organizations know what those feelings are, beyond the behavior, and empower their teams to do what’s right in the moment to create the emotional reaction and connection that leads to loyalty and great word of mouth. Sometimes those intangible moments can’t be planned. They can’t be put on a schedule. It’s a perfect storm of the employee having a deep understanding of what the guest is looking for so they can deliver on that in an authentic way.

Meets before exceeds

It should almost go without saying that organizations need to work to meet the defined need before trying to exceed it. In the case of an employee, meeting their expectations may include a safe environment, getting paid on time, and a fair schedule. If those are not met, employees will have a hard time buying into efforts made by their leaders – even if they qualify as intangible moments. Those exceeding efforts will fall flat because the basic needs have not been met. 

This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our amazing team:

  • Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas
  • Video editing by Abigail Giganan

To connect with AttractionPros: attractionpros@gmail.com

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