How Customer Expectations Are Changing

iStock-627677030Today’s customers are well-informed, tech-savvy, and highly experienced with shopping both traditionally and virtually. Because of this, customer expectations for the level of service are dramatically increasing.

As businesses deliver more personalized, valuable, and immediate experiences, customers not only have more choices than ever, but they come to expect the same level of service from all of the businesses with whom they interact.

In recent years, power has shifted from the company into the customer’s hands. Customers have high expectations for service, value, and choice. Companies that can’t provide this to their customers risk losing to those that do.

Poor Customer Service Experience

Negative customer service experiences are hurting businesses. Many customers will stop doing business with a company forever because of just one bad experience. The lack of prompt assistance is one of the biggest reasons customers abandon their intended purchases. Customers don’t want to wait long to get a simple question answered.

With the prevalence of social media, customers are much more likely to share a negative experience than a positive experience. While a happy customer may share with their friends or family, an unhappy customer is eager to post on social media. Social media is not something that is going to change, so businesses need to have a plan for how they deal with the negative implications.

So how can businesses address these issues before they create a terrible experience for their customers?

What Customers Expect Today

Customers value prompt service, personalized experiences, and smart recommendations. Customers will sometimes choose convenience over cost, turning to companies that make it easier to get things done.

Today’s customers expect a more personalized service or a concierge-type experience. They expect more than just a simple recommendation. They are looking to your business as more of a trusted advisor where you learn about the customer, ask them about their preferences, and curate the right product for them.

When a customer has a problem, the customer only wants to talk about it once. Customers don’t want to continually repeat themselves. The company representative that takes the complaint needs to own it from start to finish, staying on top of the situation until a resolution is met. This can also help turn a potentially negative online review into a positive one.

Anticipate How to Provide Immediate Answers Without Hovering

Customers want to have access to a company representative when they need it. They don’t want to have to wander around, trying to get a simple question answered. This can be a massive source of frustration, sometimes leading to the customer walking out without completing their purchase.

But there also needs to be a balance between being helpful and hovering. If company associates can busy themselves by straightening out shelves, but also keeping customers within a reasonable range, they will notice when a customer starts looking for help. Your associate can then approach the customer with a smile.

Customers expect service to be consistent. They want to be able to return online orders in person without a hassle. They want this to be a convenient and pleasant experience, so they feel like they can shop either online or in-store easily.

Embrace the New Reality Around Customer Expectations

Companies need to change their approach to meet the rising expectations of today’s informed customer. Think about what your company can do to prevent negative shopping experiences. When customers have a good experience, they will reward the business not only by coming back but possibly also with a positive review on social media.

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