How to not only keep up with, but also exceed customer expectations
When our customers’ thrive, everyone in your team is happy. Currently, 80% of companies believe that they’re doing their best to provide a superior customer service experience to customers. However, only 8% of customers agree.
As you can see, achieving customer success is not an easy feat. It requires you and your teams to wear many hats in order to keep up with (and exceed) customer expectations. It also requires teams to dig deep into understanding a few concepts around customer expectations.
Understanding customer expectations
When it comes to managing customer expectations, the biggest mistake a company makes is when they attempt to copy and outmatch what competitors are doing. While it is healthy to keep tabs on your competitors, these efforts go to waste without first understanding what customers want.
It’s more fruitful to be customer-centric than it is to be competitor-obsessed. So let’s first understand the types of customer expectations.
The types of customer expectations
According to Qualtrics, customer expectations fall into different categories:
1. Implicit expectations
These kinds of expectations are centred around business performance where customers compare your products and services with your competitors.
2. Explicit expectations
This refers to the quality and the performance of your products and services/
3. Interpersonal expectations
Interpersonal expectations are centred around the relationship between your customer and your brand.
4. Static performance expectations
Static performance expectations address how performance and quality are in the front-facing elements of your brand- where accessibility, customization, dependability, punctuality, user experience, and accuracy play a major role.
Organizations must keep these types of expectations in mind in order to exceed customer expectations. But they also have to consider what influences expectations.
Who influences what customers expect?
1. Customer needs
Customers from all over the world expect one thing- continuous, quality, hassle-free service. The rate at which issues get resolved greatly dictates what customers expect from the business. The type of the customer also plays a significant role- millennial customers will expect services to be available online, either through web or mobile.
2. Culture and locality
If consumer behaviour varies across the globe, then the same can be said for customer expectations. In certain places, warmth and friendliness is to be expected, whereas in others, it could be seen as overbearing.
3. Experience with competitors
“What are you doing to stand out from your competitors?”
Is a question you need to consider when observing what competitors do to make their customers happy. According to Open Access, people’s experience with competitors can shape their expectations from you. It’s important to observe what competitors are doing, but not to copy them to outshine them. Be unique but keep your customers in mind.
4. Other customers’ feedback
If a potential customer searches hard enough, they will find any and everything about your brand. And with customers being so candid about their experiences, feedback can be found anywhere- starting from review sites, social media, and even your own website. These pieces of feedback can influence a future buyer’s expectations.
5. Their previous experience with your company
And finally, the person who influences your customer the most is you. Past interactions with your brand, how and what you communicate to your customers have the biggest impact on how your customers’ expectations.
One bad interaction is enough to drive a customer away, but are good interactions enough to keep your customers coming back?
3 ways to exceed expectations
1. Understand your customers
In order to exceed customer expectations, you have to have a basic understanding of what customers expect from you.
The first step is to lift the veil between you and your customer service representatives. Since they have firsthand experience in dealing with your customers, get in touch regularly and figure out where you’re going wrong and where you’re excelling.
You can also conduct market research to figure out the persona of your customers, and see if there's a product market fit. It’s important to remember that when engaging with diverse customers, you must keep etiquette in mind.
And finally, collect customer feedback regularly. There are a lot of easy ways to collect feedback these days, so use this information wisely. Understand what customers expect from your brand, but go above and beyond in little increments to exceed expectations.
2. Put your best foot forward at all times
The two most influential factors in determining your customers’ expectations is how customers perceive your brand, and your customers’ previous experiences with your brand. Ensure that you deliver quality service at all times.
A great way to start off on the right foot is to use a chatbot to drive the conversation. Say for example, your customer reaches out to you at an odd hour, and you have no live agents available. Being neglectful and not acknowledging your customer’s messages is not the way to go- instead, use a chatbot to show that you are there to support your customer, and that someone will get back to them soon.
3. Reward your customers
The final step is to go the extra mile. Every customer who engages with your brand should feel special after doing so. Use a tool that provides context for each customer interaction- the more information you have about the customer, the better your personalized messaging. And if some of your customers come back for more, reward them with a discount, or a sample.
What’s next for your business?
The methods and tools that were used in the past to exceed expectations varies so much in comparison to what we use now. The greatest success is found when we focus on the customer and when we use the right tools.
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