Defining Customer Expectations
We define Customer Expectations as the general presumptions and expected outcomes of an interaction with a business they intend to purchase from.
As the market and global environment shift and change, so do customer expectations. These expectations can vary significantly from consumer to B2B markets due to different dynamics. However, this brief article covers areas that can arguably apply to both the B2C and B2B contexts.
Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is a concrete path to customer loyalty and advocacy. Throughout marketing literature, word-of-mouth and direct referral have always had strong conversion rates due to established trust, social proof, and other influential factors (Glover, 2022). Being conscious of evolving customer expectations is crucial – those that promptly identify and evolve with them can position themselves to get ahead, while organisations failing to do so are at risk of falling behind.
Accessible and Interactive
Interconnectivity has reached a point where customers expect organisations to be reachable and interactive. In particular, business to consumer markets have seen a noticeable shift in customer queries coming through social media, and customers are found to spend 20-40% more with those who engage with them on social media (Plizska, 2021).
Struggling to open discourse with a brand is likely to make customers feel ignored, and predictably – those customers are less likely to engage with the brand in the future.
In the context of web accessibility, all major search engines evaluate the accessibility of a website when ranking page performance. While government and related pages must comply with strict accessibility guidelines, it is recommended that all websites looking to optimise their search engine performance take accessibility into consideration.
According to Google Analytics – 2020 saw global internet traffic from mobile devices at 68.1% (Enge, 2021). 69% of mobile users surveyed stated they are more likely to buy from mobile-friendly websites (Mahil, 2021).
Mobile-friendly websites are so ubiquitous that it comes as a shock when a website is problematic or entirely inaccessible on a mobile device. Not being accessible via mobile can be a severe detriment as potential customers are likely to leave with a poor impression and look elsewhere.
Promptly Responsive to Customer Needs
Customer service has always been an area that offers the potential for a substantial value skew in customer perceptions.
Helpful and rapid responses to customer needs from well-trained staff leave a lasting impression that can contribute to loyalty and active advocacy to others. Following the tangent of interconnectivity – customers are now expecting rapid response and resolution.
Those that perform well in this area are bound to increase their ability to retain customers. Establishing clear, visible channels of communication and ticketing systems for varying customer needs can help make this easy for both parties involved.
While customers do not expect self-service in a B2B environment as much as they do in a B2C context, it is still a rapidly increasing expectation. Businesses with B2B activity can develop an advantage by implementing self-service in areas where direct interactions aren't essential – streamlining the customers' experience.
While identifying opportunities for self-service functions can relieve pressure from your customer service and support efforts, it would be best to avoid relying on them. Many companies are guilty of making it challenging to contact their support staff – some take their customers through a tedious and frustrating interaction with a robot that leads them to multiple dead-ends.
Low Customer Effort
According to The Northbridge Group (2021), the number of organisations measuring ‘customer efforts’ is low at only 29% of those analysed in the report, which is 4% up from the previous report in 2016. Digital convenience continues rising, and expectations are growing with it. According to the same report, low customer effort significantly reduced costs and drove brand loyalty.
Experienced practitioners often consider customer effort in the digital development space. When making changes to customer experience and interface, ensuring a smooth and straightforward journey from landing to purchase must be kept top of mind.
We hope that you have found value in this article
If you are keen to meet and exceed these expectations, we can help. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss your aims and areas of concern.