Thursday, February 22, 2024
Evolution of customer expectations :

Why customers demand exceptional service

by malinga
September 24, 2023 1:05 am 0 comment 389 views

by Hemantha Kulatunga

The world is advancing towards technology at a breakneck pace. Customers are prioritising themselves with the knowledge derived from easily accessible internet data. In mere seconds, a customer can get through to company, product, and service delivery information and important competitor comparisons. Simply put, modern customers have taken matters into their own hands, and more importantly, they expect sellers to hold that hand.

Consumer needs are changing faster than sellers’ strategies. Hence, companies must swim with the tide to adapt and evolve as fast as practically possible to stay ahead. Businesses need to broaden their strategy and approach to move from focusing only on their immediate satisfaction (the old school motto) to looking at customers as they see themselves.

The landscape of customer expectations has recently undergone an intense transformation. Today, customers demand exceptional service as a “baseline”, not just as a luxury. This shift is driven by various factors, including technological advancements, increased competition, modernised buyer behaviour and patterns, and a changing economic environment.

The swift advancement and dominance of technology, particularly smartphones and the internet, has created a culture of instant satisfaction. Customers now have the ability to access information, products, and services at their fingertips. As a result, they expect prompt and efficient service, and more importantly, they compare the service delivery of the competition.

Customers are more alert to delays or inefficiencies in customer service, and such circumstances are met with frustration and dissatisfaction. The more dangerous factor in this regard for marketers is that disgruntled customers can cause lasting damage through a single nasty comment on social media or on their own websites.

Connectivity is among the most significant benefits of technology-based social media. It can link countless users at any time, everywhere. Information could be spread around the world through connectedness, making it easy for people to interact with one another on any topic, including the customer experience of an organisation.

Therefore, the omnipresence of the internet and mobile devices has made customers accustomed to being connected around the clock. Consequently, they expect businesses to provide support and assistance 24/7. Whether it’s making purchases, seeking information, or resolving issues, customers demand immediate access to assistance, thus enhancing demand expectations.

e-commerce options

The internet has transformed the marketplace into a global stage. Organisations have been providing a great amount of information about themselves and their products and services on their websites and through social media campaigns. Hence, customers are no longer limited to local brick-and-mortar options; they have e-commerce options, and they can choose from a vast array of products and services worldwide.

This increased competition forces businesses to differentiate themselves through exceptional service. Customers are more likely to switch to a competitor if they feel dissatisfied with their current provider.

Research reveals that social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have increased the importance of transparency overall. They disclose that the majority of customers believe social media has increased accountability for businesses. Increased accountability elevates the importance of transparency.

Online reviews and social media platforms have made businesses more transparent than ever. A single negative review can have a far-reaching impact on a company’s reputation, both positive and negative, depending on the tone of the post. Therefore, businesses are under constant scrutiny and must maintain high service standards to avoid damaging their brand.

Consumers are empowered by social media platforms as they can acquire vast amounts of information more easily and educate themselves to attain a greater level of perceived freedom and authority to make decisions. They conduct thorough research, read reviews, and compare options before making a purchase. This means that when they engage themselves with a business, they often have high expectations and specific demands. Exceptional service is no longer a choice; it has now become a necessity to meet these expectations.

Social media has the tremendous capability to hold businesses accountable for their actions. Customers can publicly call out companies for poor service or unethical practices. This public scrutiny compels businesses to maintain high service standards and address customer issues promptly and effectively. This is another key reason that companies must focus on more effective service delivery from the inception of customer interaction.

Ever-evolving customers in the current era have an unchallenged impact on the business success of any organisation. To thrive in this environment, businesses must adopt a customer-centric culture. This means putting the customer at the centre of all operations and decisions. Companies that prioritise exceptional service are more likely to build strong customer relationships, foster loyalty, and ultimately drive revenue growth.

CLV

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one of the most important ingredients in business success. It is the measurement that determines or presumes the revenue generated over a customer’s entire relationship with a company. Looking at CLV by customer segment may offer expanded insights into what is working well and what is not.

In this sense, exceptional service contributes to increasing customer lifetime value (CLV). When customers have positive experiences, they are more likely to make repeat purchases, refer others, and engage in upselling or cross-selling opportunities. CLV directly impacts a business’s profitability and long-term success.

Today, more and more marketers focus on providing exceptional service to please customers. As a related strategy, businesses invest in comprehensive training programs to equip their employees with the skills and knowledge needed to provide a remarkable service for the customer to remember for a long time. Training empowers employees to make decisions and resolve customer issues independently, which leads to better customer experiences.

Companies also rely on strong omnichannel support to make customers aware of their enhanced services by providing support across multiple channels, including phone, email, chat, social media, and in-person interactions. Ensuring that customers have a consistent experience and can easily switch between channels as needed allows marketers to stay on top.

Positive and proactive communication is another strategy businesses are deploying to maximise service delivery. They attempt to anticipate customer needs and reach out proactively. For example, sending personalised recommendations, providing assistance, or providing updates on orders is useful. Proactive communication enhances the customer experience and reduces the likelihood of issues arising.

Customers’ expectations for exceptional service are higher than ever due to technological advancements, increased competition, changing consumer behaviour, and the influence of social media. Businesses that fail to meet these expectations risk losing customers and damaging their reputation.

To thrive in this customer-centric era, businesses must prioritise exceptional service as a strategic imperative. By doing so, they can build strong customer relationships, foster loyalty, and ultimately achieve long-term success in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Meeting and exceeding customers.

At one time, customer demand used to be simpler and about meeting merely after sales service, and it was a business-centric interaction a few years ago. Today, customers’ demands have gone far beyond, and it is about meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations. Companies now have no alternative other than meeting their terms when and where they want.

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