Keeping pace with consumer demands

Londoners are constantly reminded to ‘mind the gap’. Companies regularly seek out gaps in the market. Yet there’s a gap that’s widening every day that companies often miss. It’s the expectations gap – the difference between what a consumer expects of a brand or a category and the experience they actually have of it.

The rapid adoption of digital technology has transformed expectations in all industries. Accenture’s Fjord calls this ‘liquid expectations’, where the experience loved from dominating brands in one industry defines what consumers expect everywhere. The experience defined by the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google are now expected and demanded in all brand interactions.

In an Accenture study, 52% of customer experience decision-makers around the world were confident that they were ahead of their competitors, yet only 7% said their company exceeded the expectations of customers.

Shifting expectations go beyond digital towards a broader, relentless focus on customer service. The old adage ‘the customer is always right’ only scratches the surface of the way companies like Amazon devote to customer focus. They begin with the view that ‘customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied’, and try to build customer satisfaction in everything they do.

Ombudsman Services reported an increase in consumer complaints in 2016, and disillusionment with brands from poor service. 28% of consumers spent less with a company or took their custom elsewhere because of bad service. 79% said they would be unlikely to return to a brand if their issue was handled badly. Ombudsman Services also warned that millions of issues were not complained about due to apathy and long-term disillusionment or lack of trust with businesses.

At e3, we help our clients to better meet, exceed and shape consumer expectations through: a) continuous deep understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours b) competitor audits that go beyond the sector and the market c) a long-term cross-sector strategic outlook on trends to anticipate future demands d) the expertise and experience to rapidly deliver digital momentum.

With Arthritis Research UK, we’ve launched a virtual assistant to enable people with arthritis to get support anytime, anywhere.

We’re working with Bristol Airport to plan for future demand out to 2037.

And with the Royal Navy, we’re evolving recruitment and retention activity to cater for a new generation of digital natives.

To bridge the gap and redefine consumer expectations for your business, get in touch with Miranda at miranda.glover@e3.co.uk.