As many of us are in the process of planning for 2016 we should be asking ourselves: Do our future plans not only include growing our business but more importantly do our plans make the Customer the center of attention? Realize that as you develop every budget, goal and strategy, the customer must be front and center in all meetings, discussions and ideas. Customer Expectations, if not considered, will result in less than desirable results.
Customer expectations are nothing more than a culmination of the changes experienced in the marketplace for decades. The impact of Social Media, technology advancements and most important, the empowered customer, have forever changed customer expectations. The customer of tomorrow will be more informed and in charge than at any other time in our history. Customers expect, not hope, that we their (for the moment) chosen supplier know their individual needs, creating a personalized experience every time we interact. Customers expect that companies will be proactive in taking the time to understand their future needs – setting in place plans to collaborate and address those needs before they have time to take root and bring about problems. Customers expect that companies will take a vested interest in their lives and business. Customers of tomorrow are not shy about telling companies why they failed to meet expectations and quickly move away from the brand.
Companies should understand that the “good ol’ days” of telling customers what they want or need has shifted – customers are now telling companies not only what they want and need but how they want those product and services delivered. To survive, we must understand that delivering an exceptional experience requires us to create an enterprise-wide intelligence about the customer, allowing every experience to be personalized, proactive and meaningful.
The companies that will win are those who prepare today and embrace the changes taking place, creating a team who share the vision focusing on creative solutions making the company truly customer centric. This shared vision should bring about strategic initiatives allowing for a holistic customer metric, quickly identifying the wins while proactively addressing the challenges – before the customer realizes the challenge.