Managing customer expectations is tricky. It’s by no means an exact science, which is precisely what makes it a difficult task.
People’s expectations from your brand affect the customer experience in many ways. Failing to meet consumers’ standards translates to poor sales and low customer retention rates.
A critical part of managing buyers’ expectations is understanding the factors that can influence their perceptions. By considering these, you’ll understand what your clients want and how to meet their demands.
Here are the seven things that shape customer expectations.
1. Customers’ needs and preferences
As a general rule, customers expect brands to be able to help them at all times. In return for their continuous support, they want fast issue resolution and hassle-free transactions. Preferences like these can greatly affect customers’ expectations from your company.
Even purchasing habits can significantly influence people’s expectations. For instance, millennial consumers, who are always connected to the Internet, may prefer online shopping and online payment. Thus, you should consider all these when creating and launching your business strategies.
2. Culture or location
Buyers’ expectations vary greatly across cultures and locations. In some countries, customers don’t want overly friendly or cheery customer service reps. Some customers, however, don’t want to talk to agents that sound too businesslike or stiff.
When interacting with a diverse clientele, consider their rules of etiquette and attitudes toward businesses, especially new market players. Other aspects such as timeliness and communication style should also be taken into account.
3. Experience with other companies
When managing customer expectations, consider your competition. What are your competitors doing to make customers happy? Can you match or exceed their performance? What are the unique ways by which you can impress your customers?
People’s experience with other brands, especially with your competitors, can shape their expectations from you. They might model their preferences based on what other brands can do for them. If you can’t outshine your competitors, you can’t win customers over.
4. Other customers’ feedback
These days, your customers can spread word about your brand instantly via the web. They can post their feedback on review websites and on social media, which can greatly influence your brand’s image and reputation.
What people say about you can change or contribute to customers’ perceptions of your brand. Thus, apart from ensuring consistent, high-quality performance, you should also take your online reputation management seriously. Doing so will help you build a positive identity.
5. Customers’ past transactions with you
This is arguably the strongest predictor of customer expectations. People’s past experiences and transactions can greatly influence what they think about your brand. In fact, just one instance of poor customer support interaction is enough to make customers think you’re unreliable.
At every opportunity and touchpoint, aim to make customers happy. This will result in a positive customer experience.
6. How you communicate
The way you talk to customers—whether in person, online, or over the phone—gives them an idea about your brand’s personality. Thus, make sure that the way you interact with them is reflective of your business’ values and identity. Also, make sure to communicate with customers in a consistent manner, regardless of the channel used.
7. What you communicate
What you tell your customers, whether directly or through your customer support and marketing channels, will shape their expectations. Make sure to always disseminate accurate information. If you’ve promised something, be sure to follow through. Misleading or incorrect information can have disastrous consequences that may affect your corporate image.