A basic understanding of customer expectations and why you need to read this now

Customers often expect more than the scope of what you can do. Customers tend to do this because they are not aware of the policies, rules, limitations and possibilities of your business. With advancements in digital communication and with social media being the ultimate court of public opinion, businesses and their customer support faux pas are more under threat of exposure than it has ever been! Disgruntled and frustrated customers will take to social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, etc to publicly speak about their ‘poor’ customer experience with your product or service. This kind of damage is often irreversible, resulting in the loss of existing customers as well as prospective customers.

 At VOIZ, we believe that by setting, managing and maintaining customer expectations, you are also shaping their perceptions of the kind of brand you are. As for setting these expectations and successfully managing to communicate them to your customers, you must already have an exceptional customer support team that can be trained or be willing to hire a team or at least hire freelancing professionals that can cater to your customers.

According to Robert C Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport,

The best way to handle unreasonable requests is to manage customer expectations better”. Therefore, it is possible to manage customer expectations by delivering whatever you can in the best way possible and providing them with an excellent customer experience. 

– Robert C Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport

A basic understanding of Customer Expectations:

Source: Staying Relevant

The phrase customer expectation encompasses everything and anything that a customer expects from a brand’s products or services or from the business itself. These expectations are a product of a customer’s thinking on the basis of their preexisting knowledge and personal experiences combined with the knowledge of how a product or service can benefit their lives. 

Customer expectations are rarely uniform. There are varying dynamics to consider when it comes to appropriately managing these expectations. 

  • Omnichannel expectations: These are the expectations your customers have concerning the multiple channels they can engage with the brand on.  
  • Interpersonal expectations: These are the expectations your customers’ harbour before engaging with your customer support team. 

The bottom line is that no matter what size or shape these expectations come in, it is essential that brands protect their reputation, clientele and image by properly investing in expectation handling and management. 

Factors that contribute to influencing customer expectations:

Source: Zonika 

The fact is that customers approach your business and its services and products with preconceived notions in their minds. Fundamentally, these expectations revolve around how your brand’s products or services can benefit the environment and lifestyle of the customer. Although they are influenced by a horde of factors, listed below are a few crucial constituents that are recognized as significant expectation-shaping factors. 

  • Customer communications 
    Chances are that the presumptions and expectations customers bring to the table are from outbound communications supplied by your company. This can take the form of tweets, web pages, blogs, emails, social media, TV advertisements, print advertising etc. It is of the utmost importance that your external communications are clear, consistent, truthful and unambiguous.
  • Lived or prior experience with other brands and organizations
    Consumers’ previous experience with other organizations and brands can largely influence their expectations. Customers, having worked with products and services similar to yours, may have a working understanding of how things should be done. Therefore, today customers expect the same level of increased quality in customer service regardless of whether other brands are in the same niche as yours. 
  • Reviews, feedback and word of mouth
    When it comes to forming preconceptions about a particular company and its customer support (CS) operations, online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations are strong research tools for customers. They may most likely be a participant in online communities, social media and/or forums where product discussions, appreciations, criticisms etc takes place. Customers base their expectations on what they derive from these sources of information.
  • Previous customer encounters and experience
    Another shining factor that influences customer behaviour is prior experience with your brand’s products and services. If existing customers are extremely satisfied, then this sets a high level of expectation that must be maintained throughout. And if their experience has been substandard, then they may have low expectations eventually resulting in a loss of their business. 

Significance of setting customer expectations: 

Source: Reve Chat 

In today’s marketplace, there is always a baseline expectation for high-quality customer support and service. Brands must deeply and proactively care about customer expectations and satisfaction. If said expectations are not congruent with the reality of the service or product, your business is more likely to fall short with your clients, encouraging them to move elsewhere to have their needs and expectations met. 

Your customer support team can set these expectations in a way that will convey or pass on the true value of your service or product. This will not only result in customer loyalty and a better bottom line but will also strengthen the overall brand perception, reduce call surges on customer support lines, reduce negative social media mentions etc. 

Customer behaviour will continue to evolve and shift, but it’s pretty evident that customer expectations will always remain high. Having greater flexibility and agility among your customer service team will help in reducing the gap between customers and the brand. Sign up with VOIZ to have your vanilla jobs done at record time and in prime quality by our seasoned and skilled professionals!

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