Every time KLM Royal Dutch Airlines helps a customer via Facebook or twitter on a saturday, sunday or in the evening, every time Rabobank’s conversation manager Robert Lommers replies to a twitter discussion and every time I have a hassle-free experience in one of my favorite online tools CardCloud, Yunoo, Tungle.me, Gist or Evernote, it raises the bar: there’s a new ‘expectations-normal’, a new hygiene level.
The basic idea is really simple (see my previous post): even before an interaction between a brand and a consumer, there’s an expectation of what will be the value and return on that interaction. Under-delivering on that expectation fuels negative conversations (e.g. I am put on hold for over 15 minutes by customer support, the service in a bar is bad, the product doesn’t taste good, my car breaks down after a week). Just delivering on that expectation gives no reason to talk (why would you, there’s no conversation value in that). Over-delivering on conversations fuels positive conversations (e.g. my telco proactively approaches me with a better offer, I get a free drink at my favorite bar, I have an amazing dinner).
You don’t know what you’re missing until you have it. So, every time I have a hassle-free experience, get a random act of kindness and experience great customer service, my hygiene level changes. My ‘expectations-normal’ is raised. And it isn’t limited to the experience in a specific industry. It is difficult for customers to understand that their travel agency can solve their problems via twitter within 30 minutes, while their bank takes more than 2 weeks to answer their email (or won’t answer at all) or puts them on hold for 20 minutes.
At InSites Consulting, we recently did research on the customer satisfaction and experience in a specific industry (sorry, can’t name client or industry). Although our client didn’t perform any worse, their customer satisfaction ratings had dropped. The main reason? There were new entrants in the market who had invested heavily in smart digital tools and great customer service, raising the bar in customer expectations towards a new normal.
The industries with the biggest problems? Banks, governments and FMCG (although there are exceptions). They have dificulties keeping up with this new ‘expectations-normal’.
What are you doing to keep up with the new expectations-normal?