Don’t just meet consumer expectations, exceed them but know what to exceed

Meeting customer expectations is one of the three most important reasons that an organization has to adopt digital applications according to a new report that I just read.  That statement, in my opinion, is wrong.  Every brand has to not only meet consumer expectations they have to exceed them to keep customers loyal.   However before you can exceed expectations you need to know exactly what expectations consumers have for your brand.

When I buy a frozen pizza my expectations are that it will taste good and be available at my local market.  I don’t want to have a social media relationship with the brand I just want it to taste as good as a frozen pizza can taste.   On the flip side I am the proud owner of a Subaru Outback and I expect a product to satisfy my needs for quite awhile and answer any questions I have on issues like the DVD Nav system.  My expectations for this brand are higher and I am willing to have a social media relationship to see what others are saying about their cars.  There is quite a difference.

First the basics…most consumers today are pissed off at something and your brand has a giant bullseye on it.  If you fail a consumers expectations your’e going to find that they will take to the Web and social media to express their frustration.  Even more disappointing is that a lot of brands allow negative posts to remain on their facebook pages for days before responding.  I mean would you buy a car if you read that some people were having a problem with a certain model ?

Even with all this going on however you still need to control costs and that means that you have to exceed consumer expectations based on what consumers want.  When someone buys a pack of Oreo’s they want a great Oreo cookie they don’t necessarily want the brand interwoven with their lives.   Marketers need to know what consumers want and more importantly what they expect from them.  That is the key to winning consumers over.

You can’t measure the cost or ROI of every engagement on social media but you can measure the cost of implementing a social media program and loosing sales because someone had a problem that went unresolved for some time.  The rule of thumb is to exceed consumer expectations but don’t go overboard on “feel good” things that consumers can see through.