8 Ways You Can Meet Customer Expectations

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If you wish to build a loyal customer base, you must be willing to go the extra mile to meet customer expectations every time you engage with a customer. That’s because customer loyalty is a by-product of high customer satisfaction.

Many companies seem to think that their customer expectations will be met with whatever it is that they offer, but that’s rarely ever the case. Instead, companies need to take the time to understand what their customers want and adjust their offerings accordingly.

Customer service maturity assessment

 

How to meet customer expectations

Here are the eight strategies to learn more about your customers’ expectations and close the gap between their goals and your business needs.

1. Get to know your audience

The first step to meeting customer expectations is simply establishing a clear picture of who your customers are. This requires you to go beyond basic demographic information like age, gender, and location.

You need to understand your customers like you understand your product. Dig deeper to learn about customer needs, interests, and factors influencing their buying decisions.

The best way to learn about your customers is to conduct market research. You may want to talk to a group of loyal and new customers to seek information about how they found you, what problems they are trying to solve, and why they chose your product/services over other competitors in the market. Their answers can help you develop a stronger understanding of what your audience is looking for when they research your company so you can ensure you’re providing precisely that.

 

2. Make sure you’re reaching the right buyers

Once you have done your market research, you are in a better position to understand who your potential customer is, how you can reach them, what interests them, and the challenges they’re trying to overcome.

You can expand your research by analyzing your existing customer base and finding answers to a few questions like

  • What encourages a customer to indulge in repeat purchases?
  • Which customer segments tend to become long-term, loyal customers?
  • How can you identify an unhappy customer at the earliest?

The answers to these questions will help you paint a more accurate picture of who you should be focusing on with your marketing and customer retention efforts.

For example, let’s imagine you’re an accounting software company whose target audience is business owners. After studying your customer base, you notice that customers who work at mid-sized businesses are more likely to upgrade to your premium plan and to stay with your product longer than their small business and enterprise-sized counterparts. They even prefer real-time customer support and may churn if timely support is not provided. These signals help you prioritize these high-value customers when making key business decisions.

Tip: Don’t forget to keep an eye out for social media mentions. Disgruntled customers tend to share negative reviews on social media platforms.

 

3. Look for new ways to exceed customer expectations

Once you’ve identified who your most valuable customer segment is, you should focus on finding new ways to meet their needs.

Sticking with the account software example, let’s say you’ve determined that your mid-size business clients prioritize the need to improve process efficiency to save time. The next step is to consider how to reflect this through your product- You may add new functionalities or change the existing user interface. After making any changes, you can follow up with your customers to see if the changes help make their work easier or meet their expectations. Customer interactions like these will make them feel valued and will likely continue doing business with you.

Tip: When you focus on what your customers want, they will welcome your product improvements instead of viewing them as unnecessary bells and whistles.

 

4. Set clear standards for your team members

As the team that interacts with your customers most often, your support team has a major impact on whether or not your company meets customer expectations. Hiring and training an excellent team of support agents is one of the most important investments you can make. And the best way to ensure that your agents provide the level of service your customers deserve is by setting clear standards.

First, you’ll want to set goals for key support metrics like first response time, average resolution time, and first call resolution rate. These are the easiest metrics to monitor and measure, and they can help you establish concrete benchmarks for your team. 

Then, create guidelines for responding to specific queries. Write a list of the most common questions and issues you hear from customers, and establish appropriate responses for each. This way, you can provide a consistent customer service experience for each customer.

Tip: Defining the service level agreement is integral to customer success.

 

 

5. Be as transparent as possible

One of the most important factors in whether you’re able to meet customer expectations is whether you take the time to set accurate expectations in the first place.

Some companies focus on generating sales at the beginning of every customer journey. But, it’s not the best way to set your customers up for success. Instead, companies need to focus on educating their potential customers on how they can benefit or derive value from the product/services, what they can expect from your brand, and what policies they’ll be agreeing to if they become a customer. You should be transparent about your pricing information, return and cancellation policies, and the level of support your customers can expect from your team when they need assistance.

Sharing this information may not be as fun for your sales team as showing off new features and impressive case studies, but taking the time to do so upfront prevents your customers from being caught off guard by policies they don’t like. 

Your customers also prefer self-service over waiting for their queries to be answered. Ensure you have built a comprehensive knowledge base with all the resources and guides your customers may need or enabled a chatbot that answers common queries or redirects customers to the right resources. The presence of community forums will also help customers help each other with unbiased feedback and reviews. This way, they will be able to make an informed decision about making a purchase and have clear expectations from your brand before they spend a single cent.

 

6. Develop a customer-centric culture

Many companies put the responsibility of managing customer happiness solely on their support teams, but this shouldn’t be the case. That’s because when it comes down to it, each employee’s contributions impact your customers’ experience. The best way to ensure your customer service experience is delivered at par with customer expectations is by developing a customer-centric culture.

Encourage your employees to keep your customers at the center of each decision, whether they’re a developer working on new features or a marketer coming up with new campaigns. This way, everything your company does will be executed keeping the end user in mind and will more likely meet and exceed their expectations.

 

7. Collect customer feedback regularly

As you work towards meeting customer expectations, the best way to gauge whether your efforts are successful is to collect customer feedback regularly.

Send customer satisfaction surveys, and ask questions about the entire customer experience. Are customers able to easily find the information they need to make decisions? Is the buying process user-friendly? Does your product meet their expectations?

Asking the right questions will help you understand the level of experience your brand provides. It can also help you learn which parts of the process you could be doing better. For example, when you offer omnichannel customer service, you may want to deliver consistent customer service experiences across every communication channel. Collecting customer feedback and keeping tabs on key metrics like your NPS (net promoter score) can help ensure you act as per your customers’ expectations.

 

8. Evaluate your competitors

If a customer has worked with one of your competitors in the past, they are likely to compare the two brands. Their expectations of your company will be largely based on their previous experience with the competitor.

The only way to know whether you’re living up to those expectations is to spend some time learning about your competitors. Evaluate these brands to learn what they are doing well. What do their customers like about their brand? And what are they doing that you aren’t?

If there’s a particular part of the customer experience that a competitor is doing better than you, it’s in your best interest to focus your efforts on improving that part of the experience with your brand. Then, instead of worrying about living up to the expectations created by other companies, you can focus on making the kind of improvements your competitors will struggle to keep up with.

CX Priorities 2023 Report

Conclusion

Meeting customer expectations isn’t always easy. But it certainly isn’t impossible. Start by getting to know your audience, make sure they’re the right audience for your brand, and learn as much as you possibly can about their needs and goals. Set clear expectations, and ensure that current and prospective customers always have the information they need to make informed decisions.

Finally, collect feedback regularly to determine how well you meet your customers’ expectations. Use the insight you gain to make necessary changes to your approach, and you’ll become much more successful in building a company your customers love.

A customer service software like Freshdesk can go a long way in helping you meet your customer needs. Not only does Freshdesk enable you to segment your customer base and get to know them, but you can also manage customer feedback and deliver instant and personalized resolutions.

TRY FRESHDESK FOR FREE 

 

Updated on October 20, 2022.

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