As technology and services advance, so do customer expectations. Studies show that customers feel empowered and more in charge of their experiences than ever before. Whether it’s faster shipping or more personalized encounters, customers insist we up our game. Microsoft’s Global Customer Service survey revealed that over half of customers have higher customer service expectations than a year ago (1).
While this may seem daunting, it’s actually an opportunity to stand out in competitive markets. By honing your customer experience, you’ll keep them coming back for more.
Based on years of research and over 15 million customer service helpdesk tickets processed, we compiled 8 customer expectations. Check out the list to see which ones surprise you—and which ones you’ve already mastered. Most of all, aim to think like your customers.
1. Customers want to feel known
Customers want to feel like you know them: their preferences, their orders, their future needs. They insist on a personalized experience (2). For example, 72% of customers expect representatives to know their issue and order history (1). Through heightened customer intelligence, learn about the people supporting your business (3).
What this looks like: Gabriella purchased a french press from your website and it leaks. She’s hosting a brunch this weekend and is stressed. She reaches out to customer service via live mobile chat. The rep greets her by name and asks how she's enjoying her new french press. Gabriella feels like the company knows her, values her, and is ready to take care of the issue.
2. Customers want to give feedback and have you take action on it
90% of customers report that they view brands more favorably if they feel like they have a voice (1). But that’s not enough. Customers want to see you act on the feedback. Build a system where you request feedback from your customers, review the data and put solutions in place.
Pro Tip: An incredibly small number of brands ever follow up on customer feedback. This is a missed opportunity for brands to develop relationships with their customers, as well as turn customers into loyalists and ambassadors.
What this looks like: After Ron speaks with an AI agent about his order issue, he’s asked to fill out a brief survey. He gives a quick rating and types a comment. Once he submits, he sees a message stating that the ops team will be reviewing his response and that he will receive a follow up from someone regarding the issue he experienced. After fully understanding the issue, Karen (an agent) reaches out to Ron to thank him again for his valuable feedback and let him know what actions have been taken based on his feedback.
3. Customers want proactive solutions
Immediate and real-time customer service is no longer fast enough. Customers expect you to be ahead of the game: predicting issues and solving them before they happen. With robust customer data and technology, you can solve problems and prevent further ones (3).
What this looks like: Metrics from your website show that customers are spending over three minutes changing their subscription level. Rather than wait for complaints to roll in, you alter the website workflow and smooth out the user experience. The average time to change subscription levels now takes less than 30 seconds.
4. Customers want to reach you through their preferred channel
Customers want to be able to contact you with ease. Some prefer mobile chat, while others want to post on social media. Having a multichannel platform gives customers options for connecting with you. Remember that your customer experience should be consistent across all channels (3).
What this looks like: Kiera placed an order for tennis shoes while waiting for her child’s doctor’s appointment. She realizes she ordered the wrong size. While sitting in the waiting room with her daughter, she texts with an AI rep on her phone and gets her order changed.
5. Customers want to know you care
With many companies vying for their attention, customers gravitate toward where they feel taken care of. They want customer representatives who show genuine concern and ultra-easy returns for jeans that don’t fit.
What this looks like: Aparna purchased leggings from your online store. When she tried them on, they didn’t fit how she expected. She logs in to her account and finds the option to exchange them. The page reads, “We’re sorry that your initial order didn’t work out! How can we help make it right?” The genuine concern in the message makes her feel cared for.
6. Customers want a seamless experience
Clunky, time-consuming websites don’t stay in business long. Customers want intuitive experiences. From placing orders to making returns, your customers should feel like it’s “frictionless” (3).
What this looks like: From his phone on his morning metro commute, Scott shops for a necklace for his wife. The 360-degree imagery allows him to see what the pendant looks like from all angles. At the same time, he’s mobile chatting with a rep for advice on which chain length and gemstone to choose.
7. Customers want prompt responses
In our fast-paced, highly-competitive world, customers have a need for speed. When asked about the most important aspect of customer service, the number one response was that the issue gets resolved in the first interaction (1). Customers don’t have time to deal with companies that are slower than that.
What this looks like: Julia’s streaming service isn’t working and she’s hosting a party tonight. She reaches out to a representative while cooking her main course. The rep is knowledgeable and resolves the issue for her in less than two minutes.
While customer expectations are on the rise, the good news is that customers are willing to pay for them. Research shows that 86% of buyers will pay more for a great customer experience (2). Invest in your customers: they're the bedrock of your business.
8. Customers want to feel valued
It is important that consumers feel as though they matter and are cared for throughout the entirety of their journey with a brand. When a brand prioritizes their customers every step of the way, customers will feel valued. Steps 1 through 7 lay the foundation for brand loyalty; customers will return to the brand time and time again knowing that they will be treated a certain way and have an experience that meets their expectations.
Not only are loyal customers 5 times more likely to purchase with a brand again, but they will spend an average of 33% more (4). Putting your customers first will help build a relationship that will continue to thrive long term.