About a week ago I popped into the Reading Audi garage to book an appointment to get my Audi looked at as I had been having problems with the back window. I booked it in for Tuesday (today) and my expectation was for them to pick up the car from work, do the work and drop it back off at work.
As well as fixing the window, they also fixed the engine cover on the underside of the car, washed and cleaned the inside and outside of the car, serviced the car including topping up the coolant which was below the minimum and finally phoned me to update me on the progress during the day. With a tiny bit of effort on their side they have exceeded my expectations and have a very loyal and happy customer.
What might you ask does this have to do with Unified Communications? I have two examples where exceeding expectation by a tiny amount can benefit your internal and external customers and create loyalty.
Deliver more than just 'telephony over IP' - One of the things I have said a number of times in the past is that when deploying IPT, don't just swap an RJ11 connector for an RJ45 as this is what the customer, your employees or users, are expecting. Instead why not replace their existing telephony system with a solution that not only delivers it over IP but also provides presence, voice, video and data collaboration, enabling them to communicate quicker and easier and ultimately spend more time with their customers and less time battling with technology. Exceed the expectations of your users by providing something extra!
Exceed your external customers expectations - I recently phoned a structural engineer to confirm an appointment and because the guy was busy at the time, the person on the phone said to me "Jim isn't available at the minute, can he phone you back later when he is around". I have heard this a number of times before and to me that means I would probably need to phone back a few hours later to chase things up, not a great experience. Instead, wouldn't it have been better if they had said, "I can tell he is on the phone the minute but has said he will be finished in a second" or "I can see he has availability to come next Thursday, is 3pm ok for you?". This tiny but extra piece of information, obtained by either IM'ing, checking someone's presence or calendar, would have made me feel more in control of the situation and would have provided me with more detail than I would have expected. Again, a little extra goes a long way!
So no matter whether your customer is an external one or an internal one, think about the way in which they communicate with you currently and how you can improve on this experience. Make it either easier to communicate with you, easier for them to do their own job and ultimately deliver more than they are expecting!