By Bernadette A. Moyer
Whether it is business or personal we have expectations on how things should go and how they should be handled. Often our expectations do not match up to what we experience. Then we are left with what to do? How to handle it?
I have high standards both professionally and personally and many times I have been disappointed.
Over the weekend we visited our insurance provided automotive center for repairs and/or estimate of our vehicle. It was hit from behind in an accident. It turns out that the vehicle had to be totaled. When we arrived in the office no one was at the front desk. We could hear people that worked there, we could hear them arguing and we heard one of them drop the “f” bomb. This is a place of business. They were loud and unprofessional.
When our adjuster returned with our paperwork in hand, he started talking to another customer who arrived after us. It seemed rude to me and it delayed our business transaction. From the very beginning our expectations were not met. We were told to track the progress by using a website and our claim number. This was the same site we used to schedule the appointment with the adjuster. We were also told that if the car was “totaled” we could receive our check that same day.
The website was never updated even after the car was in their possession for 5 days. There was no way we would receive a check “that same day.” Several times my husband called to inquire and the adjuster always responded with “I will call you back.” He never did. We would go through a weekend and total of 5 days before we received the adjuster’s findings.
When in business and you state how the system should work and then it doesn’t, you can’t act surprised when the consumer is not happy. Of course they send me the “how did we do” internet survey and all I could do was communicate our experience.
Last month a friend referred a pool guy so I contacted him. His estimate wasn’t any less than the larger company that we were intending on using but we figured the referral would help insure that we would be taken care of. The owner never met us as we sent photos of the job through text messages and he arrived at a price and sent an e-mail. We agreed to the work and scheduled it.
The day before I was surprised that he said he was sending one of his guys and that it should be about an hour or 90 minutes. Again I was expecting to meet the owner and the guy I was referred to and so I was slightly disappointed. The guy he sent was here for hours and seemed to be wrestling with the job. I was never comfortable spending so much money over a thousand dollars before the pool opened and we could be sure it was working properly.
Well less than three weeks later another area of the pool filtration system is leaking and leaking heavily. It wasn’t doing this when we closed the pool. When I expressed my concern and my upset the owner response “we didn’t break it and I honored the quote even when my guy was there longer than the hour or so” Wow! I never accused him of “breaking” it but did state that it was working when it was closed. And the amount of time was never an issue until I originally asked how long it would take?
So in both stories, what happened? We had as set of expectations and they were not met, it didn’t go like we thought it should go. Then I say to myself? It will never be okay with me to go to a business and wait in an office and hear someone working there curse and use the “f” word. And if you are in business don’t say things about how it will be handled and then not deliver.
Now about the pool guy again my expectations were not met as I would never receive a referral from a friend in any business that I was in and not meet the customer myself. I just wouldn’t and it would not matter the size or dollar amount of the job.
All relationships are like that where we have to manage our expectations. A friend was telling me about a recent break up and as I was listening to her all I could think was that she had a certain amount of expectations that were not being met. Things didn’t go the way that she thought that they would and should go. She is a high achiever and big giver and extends herself a lot.
I think when you have high standards and when you give a lot and extend yourself a lot it is easy to be disappointed. It falls back to “that is not how I would have done it or handled it.”
So what should the pool guy have said? How about I am sorry you have a leak and let me take a look at it and see what it will require to fix it. Instead he was defensive and escalated the upset instead of diffusing it.
The longer you live the more you realize that lowering expectations is what you do for yourself to keep yourself happy. Whether it is a business or personal relationship we all have a certain degree of expectations. In business I always revert to “you vote with your dollar” we all work hard for our money and if a job isn’t being done the way that we think it should be then we can go elsewhere.
I had to go to our credit union recently and the girl who handled our business had to do several tasks for us. They all required paperwork from the credit union and she handled it well. I made sure I got her name and I ended our transactions by stating “I appreciate you.” In a world where customer service is on the decline I do my best to acknowledge people that do a good job.
You don’t experience 25 years with a partner in marriage without learning to manage your expectations. Sometimes they will be met sometimes they will be exceeded and yes there are times when they will fall short. Every once in a while I allow myself the opportunity to vent and blow a fuse on the things that I am not happy about. I think it is healthy. How could another person know how we think and feel about things unless we can share them? That means we have to be willing to take the good with the bad.
There are always deal breakers though when it is not just about managing our expectations but comes down to what we are willing to accept and what we are not willing to accept …
It is always nice when our expectations are met and even nicer when they are exceeded but sadly often our expectations will come up short. Managing our expectations goes a long way to maintaining our happiness …
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