Hello and welcome to the fourth segment in my Branding 101 blog series! In the previous segment I discussed brand personality – how it’s the human characteristics that consumers associate with your brand and hopefully you’re well on your way to figuring that out. In this segment, I’m going to help you bridge the gap between your brand personality and consumer expectations because it’s the Age of the Consumer and they are feeling empowered thanks to the digital marketing explosion.
Why Are Consumer Expectations Important?
Consumers can find out just about anything and anyone at any time – online. And, depending on what they find, they’re going to start forming an opinion – positive or negative…and talk about it – socially. You’ve spent a ton of time working on your branding…does it jive with your targeted consumer in a positive way? Do you know what they expect from your company, product and/or services? I’ve created this quick graphic that synopsizes a great article from CRM Magazine, quoting Robert Passikoff of Brand Key, that breaks it all down for you:
It’s all about the customer experience. The experience generates emotions which, in turn, create expectations. Those expectations can either lead the consumer to purchase and talk about it OR it can create a rather dicey negative experience that they will most certainly discuss online – everywhere. For obvious reasons, you want to focus on the former so that you can achieve higher profits and engender customer engagement and loyalty.
How do I Meet (and Exceed) Consumer Expectations?
This is the big one. You know you have to meet consumer expectations…more to the point, aim to exceed them. As I was researching something else, I lucked across a fantastic article written by Joe Gagnon, Senior Vice-President and Global General Manager for all cloud solutions at Aspect Software, for MarketingProfs that answers this question so succinctly I almost shouted out loud. Here’s the gist of Joe’s seven customer expectations that you need to exceed:
The relationship between customers and businesses has forever changed.
1. Know Me – Context and data from every interaction should be carried over seamlessly to the next interaction, even if the customer switches channels or switches from self-service to live assistance.
2. Make the customer experience mobile – A complete mobile customer experience must harness all channels available on a mobile device. Moreover, the vast majority (70%) of consumers would rather text than talk.
3. Let me do it – Some 72% of customers prefer self-service over picking up the phone, and 91% would use self-service if it was available, according to IBM Retail Research. The reality is that customer satisfaction is higher in a DIY model. We are much more forgiving of ourselves.
4. Make it social – Consumers use social media to complain, ask for help, get opinions from peers, and escalate issues. The attractiveness for brands and consumers is in its inherent simplicity as a communication channel.
5. Fit it into my life – Consumers don’t want to be constrained by business hours of operation anymore. They are on the go and conducting their business at every hour of the day. As a result, brands should enable their customers to contact them at any hour of the day and on any medium they prefer.
6. Save me time – Consumers have a sense of immediacy and are self-driven. They want it to happen now. No one is willing to tolerate a three-day wait for an email reply. They also have little patience for having to go through a contact center for simple queries that they could have solved themselves.
7. Make me smarter – Consumers would prefer to be informed ahead of time if there is going to be a known change in service. Brands can proactively communicate with customers to inform them of order status messages, appointment and prescription reminders, service outage notifications, and other important messages depending on business needs.
Here are a few more suggestions by Osmond Vitez of Demand Media in his article for the Houston Chronicle:
So what does this all boil down to? You have to listen to your customer, know what they want and need before they do and make it happen. Be the leader, not the follower – and definitely not the one who has to play catch-up!
Want even more information? Then follow these links:
Improving Customer Experience by Leveraging Technology, Data and Analytics
6 Ways to Leverage Customer Experience for Revenue Growth
The Future Of Customer Experience: 10 Predictions For 2016 And Beyond
Consumer Expectations: The Forgotten Child
How Digital Marketing Has Changed Customer Expectations
All set and ready for the next step? Then let’s talk about all the elements of your brand.