A good service must clearly explain what is needed from the user to complete the service and what that user can expect from the service provider in return. This includes things like how long something will take to complete, how much it will cost or if there are restrictions on the types of people who can use the service.
What this means in practice
A user understands how the most important elements of your service works – like how long it will take, how much it costs and whether or not they’re eligible to use it.
You’ve achieved this when
At every point in a user’s journey, it is clear to the them what they can expect from your service and can plan accordingly.
How to do it
Research what your users expect from your service and others like it. Look at your competitors or other similar services and try to understand whether these expectations are:
ie. things that everyone expects and dont need to be told, like the fact that there’s loo roll in your toilets
ie. the things that people don’t know about your service and will therefore assume (rightly or wrongly). These are usually things that aren’t universally known. Things like the fact that in the UK, there is a delay between signing up to a new electricity provider and getting your first bill (just in case you change your mind), or that you need two forms of ID to open a bank account.
Ie. things that only some users might expect, based on a previous experience of a similar service elsewhere, and can very often be based on a better experience a user might have had.
Try to meet as many of these expectations as you can. If you can’t, explain to the user why not.
Set ‘assumed’ expectations with users up front
Keep an eye on outlier expectations and consider how your service might meet these in the future.