To address changing customer expectations across the board, we must first understand what customer expectations are and why they are important. Customer expectations can best be described as a person’s perception towards a service, product or brand offered by a company. This can involve a customer’s actions or behaviours towards a company too.
In recent years, we’ve seen a change in customer expectations. A fair price on products and services is no longer the main thing customers expect. Instead, customers now strive for a more personalized service with higher quality for a lower price. With more competition on the market today, companies have needed to set the bar high to gain customers and to retain those customers.
Key Trends Shaping Customer Expectations in 2023
Businesses are evolving to develop customer expectations management strategies. Current trends have seen companies progress to meet higher customer expectations as a result of advanced technology and the aftermath of supply and demand from the pandemic.
One of the biggest customer expectations is personalization of service. With the popularity of membership clubs and loyalty programs, customer want their purchase history, preferences, and past communication documented for a more customized service.
With the advancement of technology and exposure to online service, customers now want to have the convenience of contacting a company rep at all times, seven days a week. Whether it is through the phone, email, or chat box, a customer expects real-time contact and information from a particular service or product supplier.
It is the era of instantaneous feedback and gratification, especially with the availability of social media platforms and other online sources. Customers expect quick service, fast delivery, and instant response when contacting a company.
Today’s customer expects to have all information readily available at their fingertips to have a better understanding of the company’s expectations, ethical standards, and sustainability methods. A company’s policies in regard to their service and/or product need to be clearly stated.
Healthy competition in the marketplace not only helps the customer financially but it allows for more choice when selecting a product or service. Companies need to beware of this by tracking and analyzing their competitors’ brand. The pricing, quality, availability, and speed of service factor into a customer’s expectations.
For many customers, a company’s stance and actions towards being socially responsibility is a major factor in their loyalty to that company. This can be seen in the actions of a company towards ethical labour practices, environmental benefits, and giving back to the community.
How to Understand and Measure Customer Expectations?
In the pursuit of meeting customer expectations, there are several strategies companies can engage to continuously monitor and improve customer service.
Customer surveys have evolved from the face-to-face interaction at the brick-and-mortar storefront to emails, online ads, and customized invitations. Whether a company offers bonus reward points, free products, or another incentives, customers expect to have their say with surveys.
The customer interview approach is a step above the basic customer survey as it results in detailed information rather than a yes or no answer. These are conducted over the phone or in-person at store locations, trade shows, or promotional events. The interview allows for the customer to expand on their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the company, their service, or products.
Using social media platforms to measure customer expectations requires the use of focus groups, personalized response to comments, creating advocates, and using social media influencers to promote the brand. Selecting the right social media channel will help to track and analyze customer’s perspective of the company.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
A common tool in measuring customer expectations and experiences is the net promoter score (NPS). This is calculated on the scale of 1 to 10 based on customer feedback of their experience, perception, or expectation of the product or service. The 1 to 6 score refers to Detractors, 7 or 8 refers to Passives, and a score of 9 or 10 is referred to as Promotors. The percentage of Detractors is subtracted from the percentage of Promoters for the final NPS value.
How to Meet and Exceed Customer Expectations
While first impressions are important, there are steps for a company to meet and exceed expectations of past, existing, and future customers.
Set Clear Expectations
The first goal of any company is to set clear expectations with customers as to the company’s own expectations. Educating the customer about the company, the vision, the values, and the ethical practices allows the customer to be well-informed about expectations of both sides.
Deliver on Your Promises
Regardless of logistics, always deliver on promises made to the customer. From inventory, costs, and shipping, it is vital the customer receives the expected service. Any breaks in the promise should be addressed with quick and direct communication with the customer to ensure customer satisfaction is gained.
With customer expectations, a company must be proactive in regard to customer problems or complaints. Having detailed information readily available through a variety of sources can reduce the need for customer interactions when an issue arises.
The initiatives companies adapt to create an emotional connection with the customer need to be fostered through open communication. Creating avenues that acknowledge this connection and offer interactions that makes a customer feel valued is a step towards meeting customer expectations.
Go the Extra Mile
To take the customer connection to another level, a company may provide benefits that “go the extra mile” to meet expectations. Appreciation and acknowledgement through personalized and dedicated services allows customers to freely interact with the company about new products or services.
How to Use Customer Expectations to Drive Business Growth
This form of interaction can help measure customer expectations in a number of ways. Keeping the customer informed of new products and services will lead to customer retention and loyalty. A company can transform the first interaction or purchase into a lifetime valued customer simply by optimizing key selling points through the relationship with the customer.
Rely on Canada’s Leading Call Center Service for Customer Excellence
3C Contact Services offer customer contact solutions for all your business goals. Our highly trained and experienced agents provide service in customer-service oriented tasks such as refund processing, conflict resolution, and handling customer concerns. Contact us today to learn more.