It is a common school of thought that while carrying out competitive benchmarking, you should compare your company to your direct competitors. The tricky part is that while you can choose to compare yourself to your direct competitors, your customers are comparing you to the last experience they had with any company, even if it was in a different sector.
A customer bought a new item on Amazon. Majority of the information was prefilled for her. The package was delivered the next day. Later she wanted to get a quote for a mortgage from a bank. She had to fill out multiple forms and wait 2-5 working days for a response.
It’s unfair. But in this case it is highly likely that she has created some expectations from her experience with Amazon, for that of the bank. The experience in Amazon was quick and easy. While the one in the bank was time consuming.
It happens subconsciously.
The customer’s subconscious is filled with feelings they have acquired through different experiences. Once a seed is planted they begin to create expectations that may be unrealistic. Today’s customers have become accustomed to rapid innovation which in turn creates a quick rise in expectations.
What can be done about it?
You won’t be able to meet the customer’s expectations every time. However, there are a few things you can do to still provide great customer experience.
- Set the expectations and be clear about your promise.
Be upfront and inform the customer of the process length. (Tip: Implement ‘Progress Bars’ into your UI/UX design). It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
Explain why the process is so complicated and why you need to gather these specific pieces of data. If you are experiencing difficulties due to a warehouse malfunction, inform them about it.
If your customers are raising genuine concerns, don’t ignore them. Listen to them, try to understand the underlying issue and use it as an opportunity to improve the customer journey.
The good news is that customer acquisition is changing. The focus should be on investing in customer retention and providing the best possible customer experience such that when an advocate is born, they will spread the positive news about your company. Friends, family and colleagues who hear about your products through this way will be already looking into your company with a positive mindset.
Expectations which may have been there in the past can be now overshadowed by the trust they are already gathering for your company.
Now, the mission is to not lose it.