Why People Expect More When You Offer More.
Today I want to discuss "expectations" and how as you grow your business, the expectations that others have of you (and most importantly your customers) will actually be dictated by your own personal behaviour as a company.
Let me explain.
Over the years Carson and I have worked tirelessly on improving the platform, services, and community here within WA. If you have been around Wealthy Affiliate for any length of time, you will confirm the fact that within any given year we roll out out MANY significant updates, this year being one of our busiest yet.
This is not unusual for companies to do that care about their customers, but all businesses are not built the same. Some companies focus their efforts on offering value and over delivering, whereas others focus their efforts solely on how they can make the most money possible, irrespective of the quality of their service.
When you focus on your service and customer value, as we do here at WA, people have the tendency to expect a lot more out of you. The better you are, the better they expect you to be in the future. That is how great brands are established and how you build long term customers. You certainly don't build that by offering an inferior service to what others in the industry are offering.
We strive for perfection. This is very much unachievable (there is no such thing, just close to perfect), but in doing so we put ourselves in a situation where the people here within WA anticipate and expect more out of us. That is a big responsibility and one I would like to discuss in this post through some personal insights.
When You Strive For Excellence, People Expect it Out of You.
People are conditioned to expect things, when they happen with regularity. Think about various products/services you use in your life, that you love (sometimes without knowing).
Let's take your mobile phone for example. These devices are incredible when you think about it, I am personally a passionate Apple user and have been for many years.
Apple updates its products with regularity, some of the most technically sophisticated and well-thought-out updates, but they typically go unnoticed by users. This is because the experience gets better, and we as users EXPECT Apple to get better with every iteration of their device, and expect their iOS to do more for us (and do so more seamlessly) with every update.
We are fans of the brand and we would certainly despise an inferior device if we tried it, but we expect excellence which is a good thing. It keeps Apple and other companies on their toes and pushing to innovate.
At Wealthy Affiliate, the same sort of thing happens. We are constantly developing new technology and we simply roll it out and integrate it the platform here when its ready. Some of these projects take us months or years to develop, and then we release and it just becomes part of the environment. And then people expect more.
As funny as it sounds, this is a good feeling. It means that people expect us to be a leader, and that we have become leaders in the space. This what we work hard for; the expectation from our audience that we are going to continue to get better. And we do.
We know that we can always improve and push the technology, training and community here at WA far beyond any other company in the industry. That excites us and is hugely motivating.
Contrary, When Your Service Lacks the Expectations Are Low.
When you produce junk, people view you as a junk producer.
If you have ever walked into a pawn shop you know what I am talking about. Although there are some true gems to be found, most of the products are either stolen or products that were literally sold off someone's wrist so they could pay their bills. They are used goods.
But that's what you expect.
You don't expect some sort of elite quality out of a pawn shop. In the affiliate marketing education space there are lots of "pawn shops". You get what you get, don't expect more out of an e-book or some hyped up and overpriced info product. It is going to deliver at the lowest level.
This spans across every marketplace.
You don't expect to get a "no name" brand and experience the same level of quality as a company that has made that particular product their entire focus. Or you don't expect a software company notorious for flawed and buggy software to somehow produce something of quality with a future software launch.
People naturally set the bar low for companies, products/services, and even companies that have a record of producing products that lack quality. Expectations are low for these, and people don't expect anything from them. They are not industry leaders and they have a difficult time establishing a brand.
Why We Encourage People to Look at Competitors.
We have never been afraid of competition. Ever.
We not only embrace companies try to build businesses, we appreciate anyone creating a good service. In saying this, we are in business and our ultimate goal will always be to offer the best service in the industry and to continue leading the affiliate marketing space in terms of education, community, and the environments required to run an affiliate marketing business.
That is our main focus.
We look around the industry and we certainly know what is out there, and we have a really good grasp as to what we are offering. The biggest competition that we have ever viewed within the online world is OURSELVES though. We are hyper critical of everything we do, to the point of throwing projects out after months of development because they don't meet our expectations.
We also avoid ANY hype, even things that we think we have executed brilliantly and will be met with a lot of excitement. The reason is we are not a hype driven business, we are service focused business. There is no need to exaggerate something that is delivering on every level.
In saying this, we know that every single platform or improvement that we launch here is just one iterative step to something that is even better.
A Slow Moving Brand. It's How We Like It.
There is a natural tendency to feel frustration when you are not growing fast enough, worse yet, when you have dips in your business. This happens with when you are establising a solid brand. Brands where companies are building something of substance. The longest running companies you see and the ones with the best brands aim to grow 10-15% year over year, on a positive year. Some years they may experience 50% growth though, and they have years when they experience negative growth, but through the arc of time they see an upward trend of growth cycles in their business.
That is the way we approach business. We are not willing to compromise our brand for instant growth. We are not willing to take a risk to make a lot more money, for the sake of losing repuation with our customers (which are brand is based on). And we certainly are not willing to sell out the people of Wealthy Affiliate to fatten our pocket books.
That is how we run our business. Some people would probably say this is the wrong approach and we should be doing things to just "make more money". There is something to be said though about being in this business for 13 years, and being at the top of our game 13 years later.
We are more committed than ever, and WA is in the best position than it ever has been in terms of technology, training, our subset of platforms and services, community, support systems and also cost...and we're growing at a faster rate than ever!
We haven't raised our prices in 13 years. Let that sink in.
In comparison, the average mobile device has doubled during this time. There are companies charging several $1,000 to attend a single conference in this industry, and there are companies charging $10,000+ for their education. Comparatively, that would be a 3 to 30 year membership here at WA!
Today I just wanted to share my thoughts and insights on this topic. If you are building and establishing a business and you have an audience that is not expecting 'more' out of you, chances are you are underdelivering (and people will be moving on to another competitors service).
Would love to hear your feedback on your expectations of product and services and how you define something as a brand leader. Leave your comments below!