Meeting customer expectations is often difficult, especially for small businesses. These expectations evolve over time and are sometimes impossible to meet.
Ultimately, customers have the right to switch businesses whenever they want if these expectations are not met.
But whatever the challenges, it’s important to equip your business with the tools to meet and exceed these expectations. To keep meeting these expectations, we need to keep learning different strategies.
In this guide, we’ll give you more details on meeting the ever-changing needs of your customers, strategies on how to best address them, and tips to keep you going.
What are customer expectations?
Customer expectations are the standards of service that customers expect from a company, such as fair pricing and first-class support. These expectations shape the brand’s customer service to meet these demands.
Many technical tools exist to meet customer expectations. Customer service tools such as live chat, discussion forums, and SMS text support help businesses respond to their customers.
However, these tools do not guarantee quality customer service. Many brands make the mistake of relying too much on these tools for customer support. As a result, brands fail or fail to meet people’s expectations.
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Why is it important to meet customer expectations?
People like to stick with what they are most comfortable with. Therefore, it is important to continually find ways to meet customer expectations. This can improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, reach new audiences, and increase sales.
6 Basic Customer Service Expectations
By knowing your customers’ standard expectations, you can find strategies to design customer service that meets their needs and exceed them.
There are six basic customer expectations of companies:
1. Smooth service
People expect brands to address their concerns quickly. That’s a big factor in deciding whether or not they should continue doing business with you.
A smooth or fast service can be defined as:
- Immediate response to questions and issues
- fast follow up
- smooth and intuitive website
- Secure and fast transaction
A smooth service makes people feel comfortable and hassle-free to do business with you. The definition of frictionless service is expected to change and grow as more and more technology tools emerge to assist with these needs.
2. Personalized customer experience
Customers don’t like receiving generic answers to their questions or problems. They want quick and accurate answers.
Personalized customer experiences make customers feel valued and heard. Customers expect companies to do all the work when they do business, and they just have to decide.
To create a personalized customer experience, you need to:
- understand and know your customers
- Know their way of thinking and relate to common issues
- Provide a quick solution to your problem
3. Correct information during self-service
Not all customers are immediately approached when looking for something. They usually find a way to fix the problem on their own first before asking for help.
That’s why it’s important that your company’s self-service options and FAQ pages contain accurate information and address common issues faced by your customers.
Incomplete or inaccurate self-service pages risk losing customer brand interest and increasing bounce rates. Businesses need to keep their self-service tools up to date and offer expedited support options if they can’t find a solution.
4. Effortless website experience
Everything should be easy for the customer. A low-effort experience is key to satisfying customers.
Customers expect browsing your website to be smooth and hassle-free. People don’t want to go through hardships to do business with brands. Everything should make their lives easier.
Examples of low-effort experiences include:
- Website pages load fast
- Responsive support team
- Visuals such as photos and videos load easily and are of high quality
- Easy checkout process
5. Presence of omnichannel
As a business, you need to be present wherever your customers are.
Customers often don’t want to open your website for quick questions or updates. Brands therefore need to establish a presence across all channels where customers may already engage.
Social media is one of the important platforms any company should have. It allows brands to easily connect with customers, study their online behavior, and learn from common problems.
6. Quality products and services
Customers expect products and services to perform as promised, but feel cheated when they don’t. The heart of your business is the product or service your brand offers. Everything else, such as customer service and tools, revolves around marketing these products and services.
It’s much easier for a business to lose a customer to one bad review than to multiple positive reviews. Therefore, businesses should aim to provide quality customer service and products or services.
6 ways to exceed customer expectations
A standard goal of all businesses is to develop strategies that meet and exceed the basic needs of their customers.
Here are six ways you can exceed customer expectations.
1. Establish customer expectations
Establish what your customers expect from you. To know your customers’ basic needs, you need to understand how they think. Ask questions such as:
- What kind of customers do I have? Why are they interested in my business?
- What are the common problems faced by customers?
- What do my customers expect from my product or service? Do they think it works as advertised?
Know the top quality your customers expect from you and understand how you incorporate it. Are you falling short of their expectations? Are you always doing your best to meet their needs?
By understanding what’s in your customer’s mind, you can imagine what they expect from you, and you can better find ways to meet their expectations.
2. Take action when you receive feedback
Don’t leave customer feedback on review pages. Recognize the effort customers put into providing feedback, whether positive or negative.
Show your appreciation when you receive positive feedback, for example by thanking your customers or offering a reward system when you provide a review. And when you receive negative feedback, focus on what matters and plan actions to address it immediately to avoid the same situation in the future.
3. Take responsibility for your mistakes
There is nothing more precious to a customer than a company admitting its mistakes and making amends.
We often see people blaming brands on social media and apologizing or making amends for their mistakes. For example, the following CEO Abbott Laboratories He apologized for the nationwide shortage of infant formula. Washington Post op-ed, earlier this year. The company promises to prevent similar incidents in the future.
A key component of apologizing for a mistake is taking responsibility for it, fixing the problem, and offering to learn from the situation so that the same mistake doesn’t happen again.
4. Appreciate repeat customers
People like to be recognized, especially from companies that support them on an ongoing basis. Recognize repeat customers and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Repeat customers shouldn’t just feel like your business is going unnoticed. You can show your appreciation in the following ways:
- send a handwritten note
- Offer discounts or free services during difficult times
- Give a free gift when purchasing a product or service
- Allow free upgrades
- Support a cause or charity
- provide meaningful content
There are many ways to show your customers appreciation without costing your business much. The goal is to make them feel noticed and show appreciation. In return, caring customers will continue to support and even advocate for your business.
5. Measure customer happiness
Track progress and measure customer satisfaction regularly. Measuring customer satisfaction will tell you what areas need improvement and what will make your customers happy.
And customers will appreciate you more when you proactively measure their satisfaction and let them know you’re continuously improving your business. Many small business tools allow you to track customer satisfaction without breaking the bank.
For example, you can Take advantage of social media platforms It also has a built-in polling feature to measure customer satisfaction. These surveys allow you to quickly gather real-time customer satisfaction data, especially if you’ve just launched a new product or service. Social media voting is also cost effective and effortless.
6. Track employee sales performance
You need to track employee performance from time to time to see how they are doing with their sales pitch.
In addition to providing a template to use when conversing with your customers, you need to know how your customers handle other sales conversations. Some employees are too pushy or too lax, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
For example, Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied to a dissatisfied customer After meeting a pushy salesman. Musk has apologized for his experience and has communicated with employees to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
5 tips for managing customer expectations
As a company, it’s your job to adequately meet customer expectations. Don’t make promises you can’t keep to satisfy your customers. This will only backfire for you in the end.
Here are five tips for managing customer expectations.
- Be transparent. Always be open and honest with your customers, especially when addressing concerns. Be transparent in your conversations and provide evidence and receipts where appropriate. If you have any questions, feel free to ask for help or ask for time to investigate. For example, if a customer service representative doesn’t know the answer to a problem, they should openly consult with the rest of the team to brainstorm. solution. This gives your customers confidence that you are addressing their issues appropriately.
- Set positive and realistic expectations. Start establishing realistic expectations by providing an accurate description of your product or service. Also, don’t make unfulfillable promises just to reassure your customers. Find a balance between communicating and assuring your customers with a positive message and setting realistic expectations.
- Discuss all possible solutions. When dealing with issues with customers, try to offer all possible solutions. Let the other person know that you are doing your best to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Do not fix the problem until all possible solutions have been tested.
- Give me a clear timeline. When resolving issues, don’t give your customers impossible deadlines that they can’t meet. Communicate a realistic timeframe for when their concern will be properly addressed.
- Follow up with your customers on a regular basis. Don’t forget to follow up with your customers after resolving the issue. Be sure to send a few follow-ups to see if there are any other related issues and how you can help the customer avoid the same incident again.
After all, your customers only want the best experience when doing business with you. They want only the best for them and your brand to deliver on their promises.
But even with so many tech tools out there to help you provide the best customer service, what really matters is what you do to optimize them and how brands properly value their customers.