Brands! Keep these 5 customer expectations in mind.

As per 2015 survey, consumer expectations have increased by 28% across 64 categories. However, consumer satisfaction to expectations from brands is only till 7% this year.

Customer satisfaction=expectations + brand experience

From the above, it’s clear that there’s a gap between what brands promise and what customer expects. A brand’s customer base disappears within a period as short as just 12 months.

Example? Nokia fans now transformed into Apple or Samsung without a second thought. Why? – Because of slower brand responses on growing expectations of customers. This might spell a big!

Want for high satisfaction is in customer genes! They continue to expect as long as they find a competitor brand addressing their enhanced satisfaction questions. Once they find a competitor satisfactory in addressing their need based questions, they switch to your competitors.

Social-networked consumers have their own expectation equation. To make sure that you don’t fall short of the equation, you have to include the real indicator of quality, value and ability of the product or service that the customer holds about your brand. A good customer experience is always a competitive advantage for brands.

So, what it takes for brand to deliver this over-the-top service?

Simply: Understand customer expectations and its levels

This is the age of competitive brand experience where brands are many; service levels are varied and customers have endless choices to switch over. Indeed! Customer expectations are growing at a phenomenal rate which brands needs to ponder about seriously. However, it doesn’t mean delighting customers all-time as this can complicate and confuse brand updates in the attempt of keeping up with competitors.

Customers’ expectations are divided into two possible levels that brands might consider while delivering their services:

Desired level: This level indicates ideal expectations of desires of brand services. This is a “wish for” performance level where the customer believes into “can be” service or “should be”.   To take an example, a customer who signs up for a matrimony site, desires to find eligible grooms/brides with compatible attributes such as attractive, learned, well groomed, value-driven, specific hobbies of interest etc. unlike a dating site, where attractive, interesting people to date are available only for dating and hang outs. The expectations are set based on the levels of services wished for by the customer.

Sufficient or adequate level: This is the level where the customer finds the service to be acceptable; nevertheless the fact that the level varies from brand to brand and category or sub-category.  Customers deem services to be expectable when they find service performance justifying the brand value. For example, MacDonald’s customers might feel disappointed if a consistent service experience is less than expected, unlike inconsistent service of Burger King. However, the actual service level might be high for MacDonald.

Top-end brand performances, no doubt, exceed customer’s desires that outweigh the zone of tolerance.  To keep them up to customer’s level of expectations, put customers’ choice first keeping these 5 customer expectations in mind.

Expectation 1: Faster social media response

Over 40% of customers expect a reply from brands in less than an hour while 66% of consumers expect a response to their query on the very same day. In the age of instant social media feeds & live updates, customers’ patience is decreasing. They don’t just want speed but also satisfaction in query resolution best personalized to their choices. So brands, your solutions are expected to be at your fingertips while addressing their queries.

Expectation 2: Self-service in action 

Consumers no longer want to waste their time by waiting for brands to resolve their problems. They feel happy if they are positioned at the first place to take control of finding a solution by themselves, right from self-check ins/check-outs, interactive voice response, bookings, self-navigable store, first contact resolution etc. Given a choice of self-service, you move them up to a satisfaction level.

Expectation 3: More personalized options

Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Flipkart- What do these brands have in common? They deliver exactly what they promise, not less. Yes! It is evidenced. Customers who find exactly the same features, product information, chat option, toll-free number displayed prominently, apt customer service, customized options, and smooth transactions etc. readily available can drive significant profitable growth and huge brand engagement. So make personalized what you deliver!

Expectation 4: Constant brand attention

Most customers love attention given by brands in the form of follow-up efforts through advertising, promotions or merely touch-points. Using this as a vantage point, adds up a chance to deflect incoming contacts and grow the customer database at a minimal cost while boosting customer satisfaction and revenues! Also, it serves as a valuable source of transmitting the right information at the right time without losing in touch.  It’s indeed like solving multiple problems with one solution!

Expectation 5:  Front-liners to address customer’s problem empathetically & skilfully

 Customers expect satiable answers to their problems with an emotional connect with the service reps. For example; the customer might not like the tone of the reps or one-half information furnished by him/her. Or the inability of the reps to provide adequate information can often dissatisfy the customer and challenge their tolerance level. Such inter-personal issues can be addressed beforehand if they are trained with proper knowledge of updates and basic instructions.

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