Are Customer Expectations Met?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 3 of our series on Goals for CX Management

Customers have ever increasing expectations when they interact with companies. The US Office of Consumer Affairs in a 1976 study of US consumer satisfaction found that expectations of many customers were not being met because of out of stock products, less than desired quality, and weak customer service. Consequently, many companies introduced increased adherence to quality customer service principles in an attempt to eliminate all of the disappointing variables. Surprisingly, in a 2013 National Customer Rage survey, customer satisfaction was even lower than in 1976.

Even though companies had invested significant resources to improve customer experiences, the increasingly higher level of expectations customers had posed daunting challenges for companies. In other words, expectations are dynamic and will shift, and therefore, companies must be observant and vigilant about them. What this means is that the shifting dynamics of expectations have to be continuously adapted to. To meet, and perhaps exceed expectations, companies must be authentic.

Nordstrom is a classic example of a retailer who exceeds expectations. They have a “no questions asked” policy for returns at any time. In their early years, Nordstrom even refunded a customer’s money for the tires that the customer did not want. And Nordstrom never sold tires! They mean it when they say “Bring it back for a full refund or replacement.” It is no wonder that they rank among the highest in many third party assessments of customer satisfaction research. They are perceived to be authentic in their promise. It is noteworthy then that authenticity has become the prevailing purchasing criterion.

Higher levels of expectations have arisen from the democratization of information. Access to information is not monopolized; all customers now have access, and they also have the power of their voices that can be “megaphoned” through social media channels. With this level of empowerment, companies have to adopt CX strategies and create a customer responsive culture as an organization engine which is fueled by continuous attention to every interaction between customers and organizations with which they do business.

“Are customer expectations being met?” should be a relentless question, followed with “Are we perceived as authentic in everything we say we do and in how we do it?”

Meeting customer expectations should be the cornerstone of a relationship-building strategy. It is the cornerstone of building trust.

Best Practice Questions to Ask Your Organization

  • Do all our associates understand our journey maps and all touch points?
  • Do we know the needs of our customers?
  • Do we understand the characteristics of the types of customers we serve?
  • Do we have explicit customer centric policies?
  • Do associates understand what it means to be authentic?
  • How would we know expectations are met?
  • Do we provide internal feedback to build trust?
  • Do we respond to customers to build trust?
  • Do we have a defined written statement on what we think our targeted customer’s experience should be?
  • How are we measuring and improving engagement with customers at an individual level?

This post was created by Mohamed Latib, Ph.D., of CX University–a training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

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