Matching customer expectations is always (and should always be) at the forefront of successful business interactions and practices. We, of course, want to continually deliver the best customer experience possible, build lasting customer relationship and positively influence profitable behaviour. However, in an increasingly complicated marketing world it can be very easy to overlook customer expectations, misread them or exclude some customers. With that in mind we look at understanding customer expectations in the loyalty and marketing landscape.
The most important thing we need to understand is what actually constitutes your customer needs. At the base level this is simply why – why they come into your shops, why they purchase your services or why they buy a particular product. Understanding customer needs is integral to understanding and matching their customer expectations. To understand this we could use a simple analogy like – someone goes to the supermarket to buy food but not Christmas presents.
However in the modern world this analogy is too simplistic. It needs to be extended in the same ways that our own marketing has been extended in recent decades. If you think about the differences between a customer’s needs in a shop compared to in your newsletters or through social media you can see the core issues that now increasingly need to be addressed. Customer expectations in your stores may have remained the same for many years but their expectations in the online world are very different.
Online people want a personal touch, they want to feel integrated into your company community, and they want added benefits or perks for following you. They want to be made to be valued and you want them to be loyal.
This new set up means that we have to rethink the traditional model of customer needs. We need a multi-lateral strategy to build different styles of relationships in different arenas. One of the hardest problems then becomes how to we streamline all of these different avenues and still match customer expectations.
Matching Customer Expectations
There are three basic levels of customer satisfaction – dissatisfaction, satisfaction and delight. We, of course, want all our customers to have their interactions with us a delight – as these are the loyal repeat customers that form the bedrock of good business. But we’ll start by looking at customer dissatisfaction.
Customer dissatisfaction means that we have failed to deliver their expectations. This can be in store or online or through marketing. Without understanding our core demographics and core customer needs we cannot bring these customers back into the fold. We need to have multi-lateral marketing, interaction and one to one loyalty initiatives if we are to avoid alienating customers.
Customer satisfaction means that we have done an ok job at meeting our customer needs. But we want increase this experience. This can be done by follow up interactions, one to one engagement, reward and improving our customer service experience.
Customer delight means we have really made a customer feel welcome; respected; engaged with; listened to; and have exceeded their expectations at every turn.
The question really becomes at this stage how do we get every customer to be delighted, avoid customer dissatisfaction and ensure customer delight. The core way we approach this is through market research, market development and marketing customer loyalty initiatives. We need to be thinking about every platform, every message and going above and beyond for every single customer. One-to-one marketing, social media engagement, rewards and personalised relationship building must become the core of everything we do trying to meet customer expectations.
For more information please visit http://www.iclployalty.com/
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