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How do you know what customers want in this digital age? And what is driving their changing expectations?
Whether they are conscious of it or not, all businesses today are operating in a digital age where consumer expectations are fast evolving. These changes in consumer expectations are fueled by a series of technological advancements which include cloud computing, IoT and smart devices.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has made customer expectations grow even further by accelerating digital transformation and online interactions. The service rulebook for businesses across all industries is already rewritten, and now there is a requirement for all companies to provide seamless digital experiences for customers.
Customer experience is today equally important as the quality of the physical goods or services that a company offers.
Research by the Northridge Group recently found out that Customers are the most unforgiving whenever they encounter a bad customer experience. They are 72% likely to switch to companies that offer better customer experiences after just a single bad experience.
Even worse, 86% will share their bad experience with others, especially on social media, which is the fastest channel to kill a company’s reputation.
So how do you know what your customers want in this digital age? Below are what you need to understand about your customers and how knowing what your customers want is important for the growth of your business.
As technologies evolve, customers become smarter and smarter and are powered by digital apps and platforms that enable them to be able to compare service provisions in almost real-time between competitors.
This means that if your business is to survive in this digital age, you must ensure that you know what your customers want and that you serve those expectations to be the very best.
Creating personalized customer experiences is the surest way of making sure that your customers stay loyal to their brand and also become your brand ambassadors. Below are some of the things you need to know about your all-new digital-savvy customer.
If you stepped out of your business and looked at it from a customer’s standpoint, how would you rate the extent to which the business meets your customer expectations? Is it smooth?
Today’s customers are looking for the smooth digital experiences that they encounter when using their favorite mobile apps and social networks from every company that they are buying from or dealing with.
It is actually not the experience alone, before and after the service, but they are looking at it from all standpoints including when they are actually interacting with your services or goods in person.
This is actually more evident in the younger consumers and a growing number of online customers who are enjoying touchless technologies like digital invoicing or tap-and-go payments. It’s actually those customers who have interacted with such technologies who have the highest expectations.
Although the customer expectations among Gen Z and millennials are significantly different from the previous generations, they are aware of the kind of service providers that offer the experiences that they are looking for and enjoy. They are equally aware of how to find them.
Why are these observations important to consider? Because it confirms the fact that customer expectations will continue to change at pace with how digital-native demographics become the most dominant consumer base.
Small service businesses have more to deal with today than ever, starting with the large embrace of online and mobile touchpoints. The digital age has created, thanks in part to social media, a greater need to listen and respond to customers’ demands.
Today’s customers are looking to see more empathetic and purpose-driven companies purchase services and products from. They are looking for organizations that are in tune with what customers want and need them even to stand for more.
Going forward, only companies that understand and deliver on the digital consumer’s needs will make it. The challenging question then becomes, how do they know what these customers want, yet they’re still interacting with them in the same manner that they did before.
However, no matter how much experience a company has in its area of expertise, if it is still gauging what customers want from intuition alone, they are going nowhere.
Although the most successful companies are still developing in-depth knowledge of their customers from their in-person interactions, this is complemented with the use of sophisticated tools to derive insights from their service management software used to run the business.
With these insights on their customer habits and behaviors, they are able to tailor and optimize their offerings according to the exact needs of their customers.
When all is said and done, the only true and proven way of knowing what your customers want is to put yourself in their shoes. To achieve this, a field management tool needs to be put in place to track messages and chat interactions across all platforms.
This way the company can monitor and enhance the customer experience from start to finish, thereby meeting their customer expectations and yielding more brand loyalty.
In order to meet core business objectives, the company has to have a comprehensive understanding of what its customers want and plug in unique and powerful data insights to achieve even more.
Embracing digital is now a prerequisite to delivering on the customer first promise because consumers are now constantly connected to technology in one way or another. This is the new reality in the market. With accurate and organized data, companies can now fit into their customers’ lives and engage with them where they are and use the devices that they love most.
To deliver significant improvements, service companies must adopt a more data-driven approach. As companies use data and insights offered by service management solutions, they are able to learn and monitor customer engagement metrics continually. This helps in optimizing processes and performance.
As companies collect customer data, they are able to build customer profiles which they can use to refine their marketing, resell or upsell and build personalized outreach.
The benefits of service management solutions not only end at increasing productivity and streamlining workflows, but also help to drive much-needed efficiencies across the entire organization.
Furthermore, service management solutions also help companies to build systems that allow their consumers to interact with their businesses, when and how they want, thereby increasing and improving their satisfaction and retention rates.
The concept of online bookings from the convenience of your phone resonates much with younger consumers. These millennials will not accept to be put on hold or to have to speak across departments in order to get the products that they’re looking for.
They consider having to speak to someone on phone or be put on hold as frustrating, thereby creating a fast negative interaction with the company.
Consistent failure to meet customers’ expectations is not only a reputational risk but also a threat to the long-term survival of any business. Businesses have no choice but to meet customers where they are and are most comfortable.
By implementing service management solutions, companies can put a stop to the second-guessing of what customers really want. Real-time insights and complete visibility across operations and customer interactions allow businesses to never let down their customers in terms of meeting their customer expectations. If this is combined with historical information about customers and performance, then customer expectations can be met as they evolve.