Setting Expectations: Winning the Customer Experience Battlefield

6 minute read, posted on 12/09/2021, by VXI Marketing

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In the modern era, the key to delivering the best customer experience is setting expectations. In a post-pandemic world, customer experience processes and innovation have taken leaps and bounds. What the public has taken for granted before is now one of the most sought-after deals in business: How you treat your customers is now the deciding factor on whether or not a customer will buy from you again. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 88% of companies now prioritize customer experience in their call centers. This is because they know that great customer interaction helps keep customers happy and loyal, while bad interaction could lead them to churn.

Customer Experience (CX) is defined by Wikipedia as a totality of cognitive, affective, sensory, and behavioral consumer responses during all stages of the consumption process including pre-purchase, consumption, and post-purchase stages. In simpler terms, it is the most important impression your customers have about your brand as a whole that encompasses their entire customer journey: from initial awareness, post-purchase care, until the very last moment that your product is separated from the consumer for whatever reason. The difference between customer service and customer experience is that the latter refers to the complete customer journey, while the former refers only to a single transaction when a customer reaches out for help and support during this journey. Both are equally as important to the success of your business but smart businesses know that to keep customers, customer experience should take topmost priority.

For most, if not all businesses, it is not surprising that customer experience is their topmost priority.  According to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13% (and as high as 18%) for luxury and indulgence services, simply by receiving a great customer experience. CX also influences on-the-spot purchasing as 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.

Businesses that harness the power of multichannel customer service have a great advantage. Companies who interact with their customers through forms on their website, live chat, social media, and more have a wider customer reach. Mobile customer experience, on the other hand, is still a priority. 57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of customers will stop visiting it, even if they like the business.

Setting Expectations

There is a big misconception about the customer experience with having good products. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he built his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” Waldo expressed this thought in 1871, a time when civilization had woken up to the industrial revolution and world industry was thriving. The belief is that the merchant with the best-crafted product with the best use wins the greatest number of happy and satisfied customers.

However, 140 years later, the same cannot be said. The world has changed and industry has evolved. The unmovable belief that the quality of your product directly affects customer satisfaction is already a collapsing—if not obsolete—notion. Do not misunderstand—the quality of your product is still vital, but nowadays it takes more than a viable product to make customers happy and loyal.

The fact is, customers will never be happy with your product if they do not want it and it does not matter if your product is good or not. The secret to a great customer experience is setting proper expectations for your customer. When it comes to customer expectations, the three elements of delivering great customer care are: effectively setting expectations for customers’ experiences, understanding all of the expectations your customers bring to their transactions and delivering on your customers’ expectations explicitly.

Setting proper customer expectations happens in your frontline. To ensure that your call center operations are doing just that, there are two important things that you should be doing.

On-board your leadership team

 Ensure that your executive team, training team, and team leads are involved and committed to setting expectations for your customer. Help them understand the importance of setting expectations and how it can mean the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of each of your customers. Demonstrate how to set customer expectations and allow them to share their ideas on how to do it. Take note of their suggestions and try to assess each one and see how it will affect different kinds of customers.

Train your frontline

Take the agreed-upon methods of customer expectations setting and train your frontline on how to deliver them. The key to effectively setting customer expectations is for your customer service representatives to have an advanced idea and extensive knowledge of your products. The way expectations usually work with customer conversations is that representatives will set your product’s bar a bit less than what it can fully accomplish. The customer ‘wow’ moment happens when they realize that your product has exceeded their expectations which your representatives have cunningly framed. In other words, you cleverly set your own bar and pass your own product test, all in one conversation! As before, allow them to demonstrate setting expectations in practice conversations, assess their delivery, and allow them to share ideas and best practices.

According to George Colombo, author of Killer Customer Care, the method of setting customers’ expectations follows the basic pattern of the three-part adage of speechmakers and essayists: (1) Tell them what you’re going to tell them, (2) tell them, and (3) tell them what you’ve told them. It’s that last part of the process that can make the difference between failure and success when it comes to your customers’ perceptions of whether or not their expectations have been met. Often, the best way to ensure customers feel their expectations have been addressed is to simply tell them they have.

The secret to setting expectations effectively lies in framing your customers’ expectations skillfully and then delivering on those expectations clearly and reliably. The expectations you have set for your customers with your marketing strategy should meet the experience they have with your product.

Need help streamlining your customer experience operations? Chat with one of our experts! We are a customer experience company, passionate about designing solutions that augment our clients’ business processes to deliver higher revenue, greater profitability, and happier customers.

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