Lebanese American University

Update: Advancement

Satisfaction = Perception - Expectations


 You’ve probably heard the saying that ‘perception is reality’ but there’s an old saying in marketing circles that one of my colleagues here at LAU Nabil Semaan recently reminded me of: Satisfaction = Perception – Expectations. 

It’s a simple equation but, like so many other things, there’s power in its simplicity. Achieving satisfactory results can, at first glance, seem completely subjective—after all, what exactly is satisfaction and how do you really know how to achieve it? But when you really think about it this simple equation says it all. Satisfaction is a moving target that directly correlates with one’s expectations. In fact, expectations are the key to gaining satisfaction.

Let’s say that you’re taking a long flight in first class and you’ve paid a lot of money for your ticket. You’ll be expecting great things from the airline: minimal waiting time, good food, a pleasant experience in the cabin, etc. If any of these expectations aren’t met you’ll most likely come away from that experience disappointed. On the other hand, if you pay very little for a short flight on a discount airline your level of expectation is much different and therefore you’re able to achieve satisfaction much more easily.

Managing expectations is a vital aspect of gaining satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that you aim low in order to easily achieve satisfaction. On the contrary, having expectations that stretch us but at the same time are truly achievable is both rewarding for everyone and a clear path for success.

It’s a simple equation that packs a lot of power, and an important lesson for us all. 


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