3 Paradigm Shifts in Customer Expectations (And How to Deal with Them)

Customer expectations are what your customers expect from their interactions with your business. We are going to explore how those expectations have evolved in recent years and why these changes matter to your business.

Customers have long expected to get quality service and fair prices. According to the 2020 State of the Connected Customer study, 66% of customers expect businesses to recognize their needs and meet their expectations. 

Expectations are shifting even higher to include personalized interactions, active service, and connected experiences from all digital channels. 

How confident do you feel that your business is meeting or exceeding your customers’ expectations? 

Learn what adjustments your company might need to make to meet the ever-growing expectations of modern customers.

Key Takeaways

  • Customer expectations are what customers believe they will experience while interacting with your company.
  • A range of factors affects customer expectations, including online reviews, experiences from similar brands, and any communications your company shares.
  • Customers have high expectations for businesses, including omnichannel experiences and personalization.

Why Are Customer Expectations Important?

When someone interacts with a brand, they usually have an idea of what to expect. They have certain built-up expectations.

For example, customers choose to purchase products through Amazon because of their reputation as a customer-friendly brand. Customers expect a vast selection of products, lightning-fast shipping times, and excellent customer service if anything should go wrong.

If these expectations aren’t met, the customer will not feel satisfied with their brand experience. This could lead to them sharing this negative experience with others. When their expectations are met or even exceeded, customers are more likely to return to your business again.

It is crucial to understand what your customers expect from you with customer loyalty on the line.

3 Paradigm Shifts in Customer Expectations

With so many ways to connect with and experience brands today, it is not surprising that customer expectations have been shifting. Here are four ways this is most evident.

1. Customers Expect Cohesive Brand Experiences 

When customers interact with your business across any channel, including desktop sites, mobile, and social media, they expect to get a cohesive experience that naturally leads from one channel to the next. This is known as omnichannel marketing.

Customers also expect each department within your company to offer the same service and experience. However, this does not always happen. The State of the Connected Customer report showed that 54% of customers in 2020 feel like each department is its own entity instead of one cohesive company.

54% of customers feel departments within a company are disconnected.

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2. Customers Expect Personalized Service 

Customers want to be treated as individuals, not just a cog in a wheel. They expect businesses to understand and work with their unique needs and expectations. This can be done through targeted marketing. Here are some examples of creating personalized customer experiences:

  • Offering customers a coupon code when they visit your site.
  • Including recommendations for items that can be bundled or coordinated with the item they are considering. 
  • Inviting customers to a unique in-store experience.

You can also create a customized experience through customer service. When you come across upset customers, view the situation as a chance to learn and grow. According to Shep Hyken, a customer service expert, upset customers allow you to ask the “magic question.” Watch this video to learn more about what that question is.

3. Customers Expect Transparency

Customers want to know about the companies they do business with. Consumers want to interact with businesses that care about their communities and participate in charitable causes. Customers expect companies to care about the same causes that they do to earn their business. Making this information public and widely available is one part of being more transparent.

One increasingly relevant expectation that customers have is knowing what companies do with the data they collect. Customers are becoming warier of sharing their information. When you clearly state what data you need and give customers the opportunity to opt-in or out of data collection, you can build more trusting and lasting relationships with your customers.

According to Canto, 75% of customers will spend more to buy products and services from transparent brands.

Customers prefer to spend their money with transparent brands.

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What Influences Customer Expectations

When do customers form their expectations for your brand? The truth is expectations are always forming and changing across each stage of the customer journey. Many customers start forming their opinions and expectations about your company before they have purchased anything.

Here are some of the most common influences on customer expectations:

  • Previous Brand Experiences: Any experience a customer has had with your brand will contribute to their expectations, whether direct or indirect. This could mean a bad customer service experience or a positive response to your products.
  • Outbound Communications: Any communication you put out into the world can influence customer expectations. This includes blog posts, social media interactions, your website, and other advertising.
  • Word of Mouth and Online Reviews: One bad review can have a much bigger impact than positive reviews in the marketing world. Customers will read those reviews and base their expectations on how you responded.
  • Experience with Other Brands: Other brands, especially in the same industry, can significantly impact what customers expect from you. For example, Uber set the bar high for how quickly customers expect their ride to arrive. If you are in a similar industry, customers will likely expect at least the same level of service.

How to Meet Customer Expectations

Once you understand what your customers expect from you, you can work towards meeting those expectations. Here are some tips on how you can set clear expectations for your customers:

  • Have a clear return and refund policy.
  • Make contacting customer support simple.
  • Give straightforward timelines for resolving issues.
  • Stick to whatever expectations you set.

Televerde Gives You the Tools to Meet Your Customer Expectations

If your company is ready to make improvements in meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations, Televerde can give you the tools you need. We are experts in creating omnichannel experiences that increase revenue and improve customer success.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

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