10 Things Customers Expect in 2018

Customer engagement is rapidly increasing for brands that are succeeding in the emerging Internet of Things space.

Here are 10 things customers expect from top brands in 2018:

Let’s start with the basics.

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1. Customers expect to browse your website on their smart phone.

This one is pretty self explanatory.

2. Customers expect to learn about brands from real people.

This is not new. For decades, friends and family have recommended products and tools to each other to make their lives easier. This comes from the original tribes of humans telling each other about dangers in the environment to avoid.  Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a huge indicator that you are doing this type of marketing correctly for your brand. The only change is the technology that allows people to share more and influence more people.  Influencers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) are a very strong form of marketing right now.

3. Customers expect good customer service.

Customer service is under more and more scrutiny as displeasure and annoyance can easily be announced on social media and taint your appearance to many more people much more quickly.  Please server your customers well. Give them value and what they expect which leads to the next expectation.

4. Customers expect value.

Because customers expect value from everything they do and buy, you have to set expectations very well up front about the value you provide.

5. Customers expect good experiences.

Value increases as customers interact with your brand or company IN A GOOD WAY. Those interactions must be positive and you need to find how to create the positivity. After you invent, discover, or create the positive experiences you can scale those.

6. Customers expect you to respect their time.

Don’t waste your customer’s time. Don’t advertise in a way that takes time away from them. Don’t create time intensive processes for your customers when either you can handle a lot of it internally or you can automate the time subtracting experiences away.

7. Customers expect interactions to be proactive and add value.

Even in this age of digital technology people want real interactions with real people. Clearly, this is at odds with respect the customer’s time. Nailing this balancing act down is so important.  Execute with training your staff. Execute on building the right technology systems that create personalization. Execute on adding value to each customer segment correctly.  When your staff can approach VIP customers and address them by name, you add value.

8. Customers expect to use their phone everywhere for everything.

Enable your customers to research in your store using their phone. Enable your customers to buy things from your store online while they are in your store. Enable your customers to learn about you while they are on Facebook or Instagram or whatever app they are using. Everyone is using their phone.  Make sure you are following the market’s attention.

9. Customers expect to have all their needs met.

You can approach this in one of two ways. First, you can meet any need the customer has. When people are grocery shopping they want to drink coffee or address a banking issue.  This is why banks and Starbucks have locations inside large chain grocery stores. It helps the tenant and the grocer at the same time.  The other way you can address this is by setting your problem solving domain very strongly. This requires both expertise in your domain and being very clear and upfront with your prospects, clients, and customers.  Figure out which way is best for you.

10. Customers expect to be happy.

This last one I added because we are living in a strange time. Everyone is posting pictures online where everyone is smiling and everybody feels they need to be happy for everyone else. Although this is potentially, and I would argue IS, a problem for society to figure out, I think we as business owners can help. If you create genuine happiness, through humor or excitement or contentedness, for your customers, they will be grateful. They will feel “normal” when normal has a disproportionate skew towards being happy. Everyone wants to feel normal and if you can create that feeling in your customers, they will keep coming back for that feeling.

Thanks for reading and please leave your opinion in the comments.  Is there something critical that I missed?  Is there something I am wrong about?  I’d love to hear about it from you.

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