Happy customers make good business. The 2018 Salesforce Survey Report shows that 72 percent of customers share their good experiences with others and 67 percent pay more for great experience.
The unprecedented disruptive technological advances have resulted in higher expectations among customers. With unlimited, easy access to information and deepening internet penetration, customers are empowered more than ever, taking control of their conversations and experiences with brands and companies.
Customer expectations, implicit or explicit, are any set of behaviors and/or actions that individuals anticipate as they start interacting with a company. In the past, customers were happy when their basic expectations were met like quality service and fair pricing.
What do customers expect from companies today?
Today, technology has raised customers’ standards high, creating more nuanced expectations. They now demand 1) proactive service, 2) personalized interactions, 3) connected experiences across channels, 5) innovation and 6) data protection.
From their first contact with the company – its product, services and people, to making a purchase, customers want a connected journey. They want to take their time assessing different options through online comparison, asking a friend on social media platforms or offline before making a purchase decision. Providing them a seamless, contextual, smooth transition from one stage to the next in their journey will not only win their business but will make them advocates too.
They also expect companies that they deal with to know them as individuals, as human beings with unique needs, and not just a customer number. They want companies to provide personalized interactions and proactive services using previous transactions. These include products they bought, when, where and how they bought it, for what occasion, inquiries and reviews.
There is no doubt that technology has set new benchmarks for innovation. Products & services that are cutting edge today will be outdated the next. Take for example Apple’s iPhone. Since its launch in 2007, there are already more than 10 iPhone versions, with each new version making the previous obsolete. As a result, customers have come to expect continuous innovation and actively seek to buy from the most innovative companies.
Customers are concerned with how companies are handling data privacy. Even large, trusted brands like Marriott fell victim to data breaches affecting its 500 million customers in late November 2018. As customers expect companies to leverage data insights and new technologies to take their experiences to a whole new level, they also expect companies to secure their data at all cost.
Implications of higher customer expectations to the company
These expectations are consequential to the company. Customers are less loyal than before, especially with many options at their fingertips. Companies should not just meet but exceed customer expectations to win their business and trust. There is a strong correlation between exceeding expectations and the bottom line.
Companies need to upgrade their customer engagement strategies and create a more meaningful, frictionless experience. Sticking to the same old ways is not sustainable in the long-term. Only those who recognize and are agile to adapt to change, leverage advances in technology, and work around their customers will have a roadmap to success.
Is your business or company providing the experience that customers desire, or not? At CORTELO, we help companies find opportunities and address critical challenges with customers at the front and center of the strategy through our customized consulting approach. Let’s talk. Book a free consultation.
- Edelman, D. Branding in the digital age: You’re spending your money in all the wrong places. Harvard Business Review. December 2010
- Green, D. etl al. If you bought anything from these 19 companies recently, your data may have been stolen. Business Insider. 2019
- Salesforce Research. State of Connected Customer Report 2nd Edition. 2018
- O’Flaherty, K. Marriott CEO Reveals New Details About Mega Breach. Forbes. March 11, 2019.