Meeting Customer Needs and Expectations Drives Customer Retention and Loyalty

According to a report, almost 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. 

It’s an indisputable fact that without paying attention to what your customers truly want, no business will last very long. Customers are very quick to jump ship if you are not prepared to readily meet their changing needs and expectations. According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one in three customers said they’d break up with a brand after just one poor experience. Understanding the perspective of your customers and considering their constantly shifting focus when dealing with products and services will lead you to create more than satisfactory customer service processes and experiences, thus driving customer retention and loyalty. Your larger purpose should be rooted in one thing: customer needs and expectations. If you’re a business with strong focus on customer service, then you know the importance of being able to address the personal needs of customers. If you are a problem solver for them and do that with ease and go beyond their expectations, they will experience a satisfying brand interaction. Research shows that customers who invest minimal time and effort to get a problem resolved are 94% more likely to repurchase from a brand and 88% more likely to spend more. 68% of customers said their primary reason for leaving a brand is because they felt like the brand didn’t care about them. Also, according to Salesforce, 75% of customers will prefer shopping with companies that offer personalized experiences in 2020.

Virgin Atlantic airlines, founded in 1984, understands the importance of customer loyalty very well and has done a great job in meeting customer needs and expectations by focusing on moments of truth to enhance their customer experience. The airlines reshaped the way the industry does business by adding free in-flight entertainment behind each seat and free chauffeurs for business class customers. It has also gone the extra mile to add Wi-Fi and speedy check-in processes.Virgin Atlantic airlines has been awarded four stars out of five from SkyTrax for customer service. Similarly, Zappos is another example where customers are willing to pay more for premium service because of its customer retention program. It is one of the most successful e-commerce companies, and it certainly doesn’t compete on price. The experience and service that customers receive with Zappos make it successful and attract customers who are willing to pay more.

Understanding customer needs and expectations helps you shape your sales strategies and tailor your offerings at every stage of the buyer’s journey. By doing so, you instantly establish a connection with your customers who recognize your value which eventually leads to more revenue and loyalty. Today’s customers have expectations such as proactive service, personalized interactions, and connected experiences across channels apart from exceptional service and competitive pricing. Being able to understand your customer helps you to provide faster solutions, improve your product offerings and reduce churn.

 

Customer needs and expectations are a powerful motivator for your business. Here are some best practices to identify customer needs and expectations: 

    • Gain insights from conversations and information like, “What would you like the product to do for you?” or “What is the issue that you want to resolve?” Listen closely, ask and differentiate needs and expectations of the customers. By doing so, you would know what are the right questions to ask. Some more pertinent questions that you can ask are, “What are your interests?”, “What prompted you to buy from us?”, “What do you think about our product catalogue?”, “Did you find the products you were looking for easily?”, “What is your preferred method of payment and delivery?”, “What do you think of the ordering process?”, or “Does the product you bought meet your expectations?” 
    • Gain feedback, evaluate it and differentiate it. The various channels where you can get feedback from are email, customer contact forms, customer surveys, usability tests, comment boxes, social listening, chatbots and the like. Now, once you have the feedback, pour all the data into a collective tool, and get a vivid picture of what your customers expect. 
    • Gain insights from customer metrics to describe loyalty, retention and overall satisfaction. Customer satisfaction score, net promoter score, customer effort score, customer lifetime value, repeat purchase rate, redemption rate, customer loyalty index and upselling ratio are metrics that can give you reliable data which you can gauge to improve the customer experience
    • Monitor and evaluate social mentions. Track social media interactions and listen carefully to what customers are saying and talking about on social media. A powerful social media tracking freemium tool is MENTION which provides updates about brand mentions on the web.

It is important to understand customer needs and expectations. Many businesses are ensuring customer needs are met early as it helps in aligning with other internal teams (sales, support or product) to provide quick and positive results.

 
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