A few days ago a client emailed me with the subject line "URGENT!" and asked if I could make some minor (but important) changes to one of their apps. I meant to do it right away, but it ended up being a pretty hectic and busy couple of days and I didn't get to it until several days later. I made the change, tested and deployed it, and emailed the client to let them know that it was completed. Here's the important part: I started my email with "I apologize for the delay in getting this taken care of..." but then I thought about it and realized that it had been over a weekend and I'd done the best I could, even if I'd wanted to get it taken care of sooner, they hadn't complained yet, so maybe I should hold off on the apologies for now. So instead I just let them know that they change was completed and ready for their review, and I made no references to the time frame. The response back was an emphatic "Thank you for taking are of this so quickly!"
I was discussing price anchoring with my wife the other day, where the As Seen On TV people will say "but call now and you'll get this $100 package for only 49.99!" The truth is, the package is normally $49.99, but by telling you that it's a $100 package, they set a price anchor that makes the buyer feel like they're getting a good deal. Just as a good sales person knows the power of price anchoring, so to should we all be aware of the power of Expectation Achoring, which can work either for or against you. It's important to be aware of the expectations you have for yourself, and how they might differ from the expectations that others might have for you.