May 8, 2024

The Time to Win: 6 Ways to Exceed Customer Expectations

by Laura Parkyn

Speed and responsiveness have become crucial competitive advantages in today’s fast-paced business world. Jay Baer, a renowned author, customer experience expert, and purveyor of fine tequila, joined a CMO Huddles Career Huddle to share insights from his latest book, “The Time to Win,” which explores the power of speed in driving customer satisfaction and revenue growth.

During the insightful conversation, Baer emphasized that customers now perceive responsiveness as a sign of respect, and their willingness to spend money is directly tied to how much their time is valued. He backs this claim up through comprehensive research and found that two in three customers say speed is as important as price.

To help organizations harness the power of speed, Baer outlined six key strategies:

1. Perform a “Got-It Audit”

You need to get cold hard data on how long it takes a customer to get “it” from your business. How long does it take them to get an invoice, a sales appointment, a bill paid, or onboarded? This helps you establish your current baseline and identify areas for improvement.

2. Answer Before They (Customers) Ask 

Proactively deliver what your customer needs before they know they need it. Lean into self-serve so that a customer doesn’t even need to open your chatbot. Make sure the FAQ page on your website is comprehensive and updated regularly.  

3. Respond Without Answers 

Acknowledge customer inquiries as soon as possible, even if you don’t have an immediate solution. If someone asks a question you don’t have the answer to, let them know that you’re on it, and then come back later with what they need. This takes it off of their mental to-do list and drastically improves the customer’s experience.

4. Set Speed Expectations 

As Jay says, “It’s not about raw speed, but about being slightly faster than customers expect you to be. And if you don’t set expectations, customers will expect everything to happen faster than you can deliver it.” You need to clearly communicate timelines and the reasons behind them. So if it will take 14 days to onboard a customer, tell them it will take 14 days, and explain why. 

5. Close Uncertainty Gaps 

The uncertainty gap defined by Jay is “the difference between what you know about your business and how it works, and what the customer knows about your business and how it works.” To close it, keep customers informed throughout the process, reducing anxiety and perceived waiting times.

6. Offer a “Fast Pass” 

In their research, Jay and his team found that one in four customers will pay as much at 50% more to not wait. So give your customers the opportunity to pay a premium for faster service. They get they immediate service they didn’t think they could get, and all you have to do is shuffle your sequence—it’s a win-win situation.

Remember: The goal is not maximum speed, but consistently delivering slightly faster than customers expect without sacrificing quality. Though demanding ongoing commitment, the payoff of Baer’s strategies is a distinct competitive edge that drives satisfaction, revenue growth, and long-term success. 

As Baer aptly stated: “You have an actual opportunity to use speed and responsiveness as a distinct competitive advantage, this is your time to win.” 

CMO Huddles features private Q&As (“Career Huddles”) with thought leaders like Jay Baer every month. If you’re a B2B marketing leader and want to join the next one, reach out to for more info.