What are customer expectations?
Definition: Customer expectations are the assumptions customers have before, while, or after interacting with a brand, service, or product. Customers anticipate certain actions, behavior, or benefits from a product or brand based on internal or external factors.
These external and internal factors form the ideas and thoughts related to the brand, and companies benefit from meeting or exceeding them. To do that, companies need to be aware of these expectations and work on aligning them with their product or service.
How are customer expectations formed?
Businesses use different marketing tactics for customer marketing and acquiring new customers.
These tactics enable brands to effectively communicate their message, promises, and expected outcomes to customers, thereby shaping their expectations of the product and the overall brand.
The website design, social media posts, and customer loyalty create a perception of the brand in the client's mind.
A customer’s previous experience with the brand, product, or customer service interactions shape their expectations and feelings toward a brand.
If the experience was positive in the past, customers expect the same treatment and overall experience in the future.
Customer knowledge and experience with the competition and the industry affect the expectations of companies in the same business.
If competitors offer certain advantages, features, or loyalty programs, customers who are aware of them project these expectations onto every other similar offer. Product knowledge is key to selling to users who are solution-aware.
- Personal needs
Personal needs and preferences have an effect on the customer expectations of a company because customers recognize their needs in the offer or solution the company sells.
If the underlying needs of customers are uncovered in an interaction with the brand, customers expect the brand to understand them and meet their needs with their product or service.
- Recommendations and reputation
Social proof, as in recommendations and reviews, strongly affects customer expectations. Brands need to ensure every customer gets equal and personalized treatment to maintain their initial standards.
The pricing of a product or service often conveys an impression of its quality or the perceived importance of the desired outcome.
Higher prices are typically associated with better quality or service and may also suggest a more significant desired outcome for customers. This perception can influence customer expectations and create a sense of value or significance.
Types of customer expectations
- Explicit — Based on features or qualities customers expect from a service, or they need
- Implicit — Based on market trends and commonly accepted standards in a particular industry
- Interpersonal — Grounded on the expected interactions with customer service teams
- Digital — Established after online interactions with the brand
- Dynamic performance — Based on the evolving customer needs and how the company responds to innovation
- Static performance — Built on the overall performance of a brand or company in terms of dependability and customization
- Situational — Formed after the customer's experience with the brand before and after purchasing the product in specific circumstances
How to meet and exceed customer expectations?
Collect and act on customer feedback
Gathering information about customer expectations and competition through surveys and research helps companies understand their customers better and align with their needs.
Companies can exceed customer expectations by providing solutions to negative feedback on short notice.
Create a customer-faced culture
Make sure the company’s teams have the customer’s needs as their main focus during every interaction.
Customers want their questions answered quickly and precisely, and companies use this to exceed their expectations.
Companies can improve the customer's experience with customer service by automating it with conversational AI. In that way, customers can get answers to FAQs immediately, and support agents can approach more complex customer inquiries with personalized solutions.
Companies must set clear expectations regarding features and pricing to satisfy customers and avoid spiraling into negative reviews and experiences. These expectations can later be exceeded with loyalty programs and special offers.