What are Customer Expectations (and Where are They Headed)?

  1. giving customer expectations

76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. They also say that it is easier than ever to take their business elsewhere to find an experience that matches their expectations. Because of this, businesses need to pay closer attention to their consumers’ expectations now more than ever before. This blog post will discuss customer expectations, new expectations, and why exceeding those expectations are critical.

Customer Expectations

Customer expectations are defined as any set of behaviors or actions that individuals anticipate when interacting with a company. Previously, these expectations have revolved around the basics of quality service and fair pricing. More recently these expectations have grown. Now consumers are looking for proactive service, personalized interactions, and connected experiences across all channels to name a few. 

Some of today’s customer expectations are obvious and understandable, while others require more time to incorporate into your business.

A quick, reliable delivery is one of the main expectations of your consumers. They want to know and trust the way their package is getting from point A to point B. In addition, same-day delivery has become a more important feature that customers want and are willing to pay more for. They are also looking for clear and accurate tracking of their orders.

A lot of your customers expect fluidity through your online and brick-and-mortar stores. They do not realize that they are two independent entities. With that, they are expecting your online store to have the same products as your physical store and vice versa. Customers often browse between the two so it is important that your business has a seamless flow between them. 

Your customers are also expecting flexible payment options. Due to the many different options available such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Amex Express Checkout, etc., consumers are expecting to pay with any option, whenever they are making a purchase. 

One customer expectation that has not changed is quality service. Customers expect to be treated like a human, not a number. They are expecting you to interact with them on an individual basis and 84% say it is important to winning their business. Without it, they will have no problem finding products elsewhere. Furthermore, customers expect quality customer service if there is an issue. They want the option to use multiple channels to connect when they have a problem.

Finally, your customer expects a high level of data protection and trust and 57% of customers are uncomfortable with how companies use their personal or business information. It is important to make trust your priority and make it known to your consumers.

New Customer Expectations

One of the new expectations customers are looking for is the use of augmented and virtual reality services. These products used in a business setting are programmed so that you can virtually see and feel the items, as well as plan for its placement before purchasing. As this is a growing technology, it may be something to consider.

Another thing that customers want is a intuitive shopping experience. A large majority of people spend time on social media, meaning that it is more important than ever to create experiences across channels such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. With that said, Instagram has developed a shoppable post feature by allowing users to click on an image, see prices and product codes, and continue to shop the product online. Since social media platforms are not slowing down, creating new shopping experiences for your customers might drive traction and conversations.

Why Exceeding Customer Expectations is Critical

Dropping the ball on even one customer can have some serious repercussions. Simply one customer having a bad experience, or not meeting a customer’s expectation, results in more than just that lost sale or one unhappy consumer.  62% of customers share their bad experiences with others. With the many review and social media sites, not only will the word of mouth travel and inflict reputational damage, but while you are recovering from this loss, your competitors will get ahead. However, review and social media sites are not all bad. 72% of customers share their good experiences with others, 10% more than those who share their bad experiences. Overall, research has shown that whether you meet or miss your customer expectations, there is an impact to your bottom line – of course you always want to exceed them!

Summary

Understanding the expectations of today’s consumers is critical for businesses success. Evolving and focusing on certain areas will help to increase customer satisfaction and sales. Meeting and exceeding these existing expectations is a challenge, but will push you ahead of your competitors.

See how a strong inventory management system can help to achieve your customers expectations!

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