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What Do Consumers Expect?

Expectations - a word dreaded by many, no matter the topic. Why does "expectation" strike fear in our minds? They are prone to swift and sudden changes, and therefore difficult to manage and to keep up with. This proves especially tricky in the business world where technology has been both a blessing and a curse. The sheer amount of technological advancement we have seen in the past ten years has changed the landscape of consumer expectation.

Based off my own experience, I think of Amazon as a prime example.  As a new mom, I frequently order diapers from Amazon.  They typically arrive exactly when I want, so I've come to expect to receive my shipment of diapers quickly.  So what happened when they didn’t arrive the other day?  I freaked out.  I hit the "track package" button probably 20 times that day, and bothered my husband with a whiny, “what should I do” phone call.  He calmly, and with a smirk I could sense through the phone, told me that I might just have to go to the store.  Gasp!  The point here is, technology has made our lives easier, but unfortunately a wee bit spoiled.

Beyond Amazon, it’s easy to see the effect technology has had on all facets of business. Especially in the fast moving industry of social media, customer service expectations are intense.  We are now a society with the ability to instantaneously broadcast our feelings, thoughts, questions and reactions online.  This makes providing customer service via social difficult, but brands are more likely to succeed if they:

  • Have a solid social service strategy.
  • Dive in and participate.
  • Stay up to speed with the ever-changing social media climate.

So how can your brand successfully respond to customer service expectations?  

  • Start by listening and investigating on social before engaging.  Know the landscape and what others are saying about your company (and your competitors). 
  • Set up a social service plan to meet expectations.
    • WHERE do you want to interact with customers? 

    • HOW you want to interact with them (setting brand tone guidelines) 

    • WHEN (9–5 or 24/7)?

  • Try to solve the customer’s problem during the first contact.

  • Save money (and the consumer’s time) when you can.  If you can proactively educate the customer or allow others (advocates) to educate the customer via social channels, some service exchanges can be avoided and money will be saved.

  • Be as authentic and empathetic as possible when responding to a brand crisis situation. Consumers are quick to call out brands that are less concerned about the customer and more concerned about how they look to the public.
  • Remember that social service expectations are high – so the quicker the better. 

 

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, which will discuss what to look for when choosing a social management platform. 

                                   

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