customer shopping online

How Can I Better Understand And Meet Customer Expectations?

When products and services come across as very similar, understanding your customer’s expectations can be a real differentiator that separates you from your competitors.

Every day, 2.64 BILLION people spend their time online.

With interactions at an all-time high, any point of friction can lead to lost business and, worse, lost customers. As part of creating a seamless digital experience for your users, you need to know your customers. And that starts by understanding their expectations.

Aside from providing a better digital experience, customer expectations can also impact your brand image and boost brand loyalty.

Luckily for you, understanding and meeting customer expectations begins with only three steps.

Once you know your customers’ expectations, you can begin to optimize your digital product to meet each level of those expectations.

1. Listen and Respond When Your Customers Speak

First and foremost, listen to your customers early and often. One option for you to better understand your customers is to leverage surveys for customer feedback. You can also use other methods such as:

  • Usability testing
  • Session recordings
  • Heatmaps

You also want to provide numerous avenues for customers to get in touch with you, such as email, chat, and phone. Few things are more frustrating than not being able to easily communicate with a company when there’s a problem.

If your customers have to go spelunking deep into your menus to find contact information, they’re going to come away feeling frustrated.

2. Talk Regularly To Customer Service

Ask your service reps to provide some input. They interact with customers on a daily basis, and they probably have the best sense regarding the expectations of your customers.

A customer usually files a complaint when the brand doesn’t meet their needs or expectations.

Additionally, the more communication there is between customer service and the rest of the team, the more likely it is that you can fix inefficiencies.

Fixing the inefficiencies will make customers happy, which, in turn, makes your support reps happy. Ultimately, it will also make your revenue happy.

3. Leverage Data to Optimize Digital Experience

By consistently listening to your customers and your customer support reps, you create feedback loops. This allows you to identify both the areas in which you’re doing well and the ones that tend to cause problems for your customers.

Once you’ve identified the problem areas, you can begin systematically and strategically using digital experience optimization methods to make improvements.

By focusing on reducing friction in the most problematic areas, you can make a significant impact relatively quickly.

The most challenging part about this is step 1: you have to be willing to listen to your customers. From there, you can establish processes that will help you establish a feedback loop. In the last step, you can make use of the data and feedback collected to improve upon your problem areas.

Keep in mind that just because there are only three steps, it doesn’t mean that the process will be easy or straightforward. However, if you can remember that your main objective is to figure out and address the pain points of your customers, you are on the right track.

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Jon MacDonald smiling at the camera for The Good

About the Author

Jon MacDonald

Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good, a digital experience optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest companies including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, Verizon, Intel and more. Jon regularly contributes to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc.