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Sporting fans have plenty to cheer about at the moment with the Lions tour in full flow, Wimbledon underway and the British Grand Prix this weekend. And there has been plenty for the headline writers to choose from with shock defeats in the first week of Wimbledon and the imminent departure of Mark Webber from F1.
Unfortunately, thanks to the slips and falls experienced by some Wimbledon competitors there have also been some potentially damaging headlines about the state of the Wimbledon court. Pundits may point to the grass always being slippery in the first couple of days of Wimbledon but once a negative comment is out there it is hard to stop the ball from rolling away.
Whether due to the state of the grass or not, there have certainly been a number of injury withdrawals this year. To put this into perspective the BBC has helpfully pointed out that more players withdrew injured in the first rounds of the US Open two years ago and Andy Murray said in his BBC sports column that “As athletes, you spend a lot of your time carrying injuries of one sort or another.”
It hasn’t just been the tennis players who have been affected. The British Lions tour has also been dogged by injury but here the reaction is more philosophic with general acknowledgement that injuries are inevitable on a tour. This difference in outlook, that what is acceptable in one area but not in another runs right through sport and into business. Whether it is down to the team v the individual player or the nature of the product being offered, perception and anticipation can colour experience.
Go to watch a show and you may be disappointed if the star performer doesn’t turn up, support a team and you expect that certain stars will be missing from time to time; buy a watch for £1 and you are not surprised if it goes wrong, buy one for £100 and you expect it to last. In effect the customer experience cannot and will not be the same on every occasion.
That doesn’t mean that businesses shouldn’t work to provide the best customer experience which they can but it does mean that businesses should be realistic in only promising what they can deliver. Matching espoused values to reality, working within your means but with the customer always at the forefront of your actions is a far better recipe for success than over promising and under delivery.