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7 Real Customer Expectations When It Comes to the Customer Experience

Written by

 Jeremy Gallemard

You surely know that your customer journey is not just a purchase journey, that customer relations is not just functional, that your customers’ experiences don’t stop when they leave the store or after they place an order on your website…

But do you know your consumers’ precise expectations when it comes to the customer experience?

Each one of your customers is unique, but numerous commonalities connect them all in terms of expectations. Smart Tribune presents the 7 real needs to address via customer service in order to offer the best customer experience!

Table of content:

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1. Listening to and understanding customer needs for a better customer experience

To understand customer needs, you have to listen carefully.

By listening to customers, we mean: asking the right questions, paying attention to their responses, not making them repeat themselves, using their feedback to take action…

According to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 study:

43% of respondents think that companies who collect customer feedback don’t take actions that take it into account.

However, feedback is a real goldmine and lever for better understanding clients and offering adapted solutions.

Remember: When a consumer contacts your customer service, the first step is to listen (carefully) in order to better understand and identify any obstacles along the customer journey; and to act effectively to create a better user experience.

Some companies choose from the beginning of the customer relationship to “under-promise and over-deliver,” in order to guarantee a wow effect and to avoid post-purchase problems. Whatever strategy you choose, the goal is to listen to your customers’ expectations and to respond efficiently.

2. Offering different points of contact as part of the customer experience

Each consumer is above all, human, increasingly connected, autonomous and present on multiple channels in this era of digitization. Today, the customer experience extends all the way to the metaverse. When a customer requires customer service, their behavior is as follows: find a channel that works best for them in order to offer a solution to their problem(s).

You only provide an email address as a point of contact for your after sales service? No FAQ available on your site? If you answered yes to either question, you may have some frustrated customers.

To live a unique customer experience, each client expects to have a certain level choice. Like a store or point of sales that proposes an article of clothing in different colors, or different payment options…It’s essential to apply choice criteria to a multi-channel after sales experience.

The channels that your clients choose depend on the type of interaction. For a simple question, like “Where to find my receipt?” a dynamic FAQ or an email contact will be prefered. Only 16% prefer calling customer services for a basic request!

When it comes to more complex requests, like needing assistance, the customer will prefer exchanging with a chatbot, or for 38% of consumers, via a call.

Finally, according to Hubspot,

Over 85% of customers expect that a conversation takes place in a transparent, seamless way, without having to repeat themselves.

3. Transforming the customer experience by prioritizing reactive and proactive customer service!

Whatever the channel (phone, chatbot, in-store), the premise is the same for all: We don’t like to wait. Your customers don’t either.

Based on a Lithium Technologie study, the numbers on Twitter speak for themselves:

On the network, 53% of customers expect brands to respond within an hour. For a complaint or refund, the number goes up to 72%

To optimize this expected reactivity and to decrease dissatisfaction, customer service can bet on technological solutions. If customer self-service solutions aren’t enough, a “call-back” system can help reduce wait times for customer service and limit the abandonment rate.

Beyond the expected reactivity, your customer service can bet on proactivity! All along the customer journey, the idea is to prevent rather than to treat.

Collect individual feedback in an ongoing way, capitalize on customer knowledge, create a customer community and interact with them…You will create a unique customer experience by betting on customer data.

Don’t wait for your customers to contact you if there’s a problem. Proactivity is the key to continuous improvement and optimized customer relations!

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4. Resolving each problem as a vector of the customer experience

According to Hubspot (2019), only 12% of customers trust companies when they say that “the customer comes first.”

The good news is that your agents have the power to reverse this negative sentiment.

Your customer service department is built to solve problems: Each customer satisfied with their customer service interaction can positively impact your customer relations, retention and loyalty.

To solve problems and respond to questions, keep in mind that your customers hate incoherence. Again according to Hubspot:

Over 75% of customers claim that getting incoherent responses from customer services generates major frustration.

Don’t hesitate to employ empathy and to personalize the responses you bring in order to resolve problems quickly and without frustration. 

5. Saving time rather than money for your customer service

Contrary to common beliefs, customers value their time more than their money. That’s why many companies use this argument: “We’ll save you time.”

In this same logic, McDonald’s decided to orient its marketing strategy towards achieving happiness and acceptance for everyone (“come as you are”) rather than towards its prices.

When a customer calls your customer service after a purchase, keep this in mind: They’re looking to find a quick solution for their problem, to save time, even before thinking about an eventual reimbursement.

6. Your customer service should offer a personalized customer experience

We live in a society where the need for anonymity coexists with the need for personalization.

Customers fight against the collection and use of their data. However, they paradoxically expect companies to know them well enough to offer a digital customer experience.

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According to Hubspot:

79% of consumers think personalized customer service is more important than personalized marketing.

From purchase to after-sales, customer expectations may be fulfilled by personalized services. A call to ensure customer satisfaction is just one idea!

7. Customer experience: Surprise can spice up the relationship via customer service!

Your customers love being surprised. Surprise can act like a drug on the brain, with unexpected effects.

An American study proves that surprises work on the same part of the brain as narcotics, showing that people find pleasure in the unexpected.

The American doctor Gregory Berns explains, “If you receive a gift for your birthday, that’s satisfying. But you appreciate a gift you get on a different day even more!”

Surprise is a powerful lever for action when it comes to delivering a unique customer experience. Your customer service can send a personalized handwritten note, a personalized discount outside of sale season, a coupon following a resolved issue…

The cherry on top? If you follow our advice, listening carefully all along the customer journey will allow you to be proactive, to propose personalized gifts, to improve your customer relations and to boost your brand image!

Understanding these 7 expectations, addressing them and even surpassing them by being proactive is a real boost for your customer service and in transforming your customer experience. 

At stake? Satisfaction, retention and even loyalty! Ready to take action?

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Jeremy Gallemard

Hello! I'm Jérémy, President & Co-founder of Smart Tribune. With my background in the digital & customer experience space I'm happy to share my insight & practical advice on customer experience today & what it might look like tomorrow. Happy reading!

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