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It’s not enough to meet customer expectations. Today’s successful businesses know they must anticipate their customers’ needs and surpass their expectations.

For example, one-third of businesses lost customers last year because they couldn’t keep up with their buyers’ changing expectations.

Let’s see how to avoid becoming that statistic and become a customer-centric organization that excels in delivering enjoyable customer experiences.

Key takeaways:

  • High customer expectations are a result of people becoming more stressed. Customers no longer prioritize loyalty to a business because there are more significant stressors in their lives.
  • The spoils go to the business that understands and delivers two things: making customers’ lives easier and making customers’ lives better.
  • To learn customer preferences, you can conduct A/B testing on your website or marketing campaigns.
  • Being proactive means anticipating customers’ requests. Find ways to be proactive in your business to save customers the work of making requests.
  • Regarding customer service, focus on reducing customer effort and meeting customers where they are (i.e., using the customer’s preferred communication channel).

Why you must do more than meet customer expectations

Before March 2020, a business could tout its product quality or unbeatable prices. In a post-COVID world, however, customer experience became the dominant factor that mattered to people. Why is that? 

We’re living in a time when people realize that life is short and objects don’t matter as much as experiences do. People became more stressed, and customers no longer prioritized loyalty to a business because there were more significant stressors in their lives. Customers simply wanted to do business with a company that improved their lives. 

So, what does that mean for companies now that we live in a world where customers have very high expectations? The spoils go to the business that understands and delivers two things: making customers’ lives easier and making customers’ lives better. If a company isn’t doing that, it may become irrelevant.

Here are four observable benefits of exceeding customer expectations:

  1. An increase in customer lifetime value
  2. Maintain a competitive advantage
  3. An increase in “word-of-mouth” advertising
  4. Boost in sales and profits


4 ways to exceed customer expectations

Here is the inside scoop on not only meeting but exceeding customer expectations.

1. Look at customer feedback

Look at existing customer feedback for your product or service. Better yet, read reviews on your competitors’ products. What can you learn? Are customers complaining about a product feature? Design and market your product based on customer feedback from competitors, solving particular pain points. 

Furthermore, ensure your product or service is of high quality so customers aren’t posting pain points regarding them. Customer opinion is particularly vital in the arena of online product reviews. A dip in product rating can have detrimental effects on revenue. Continual product or service assessment and improvement keep your offering at the highest caliber.

Next, discover your customers’ preferences. Learning this information can be as simple as posting a question on Facebook or Twitter. Here are some questions for the post:

  • What frustrates you the most about a type of product or service?
  • How do you feel a company can waste your time?
  • Where do you see yourself in a year?

The last question allows you to help customers get from where they are now to where they want to be.

Finally, you can conduct A/B testing on your website or marketing campaigns to learn customer preferences.

2. Personalization

Personalization means tailoring an experience (e.g., marketing message or product) to a specific individual. To achieve this, you must know your customer. Some data is readily available, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Purchase history

It would help if you trended behaviors over time for other data, such as customers’ interests and ideals. Once you have that, you can create meaningful campaigns that provide substantial and personal value to your customer.

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3. Be proactive

Being proactive means anticipating customers’ requests. Think of what your customer needs before they do and offer it to them. How can you do that? 

Let’s take an example. Say your company is a printing service. You offer a range of products like cards, mugs, calendars, etc. One day you receive a request for 500 business cards. In this case, meeting customer expectations means filling the order and providing a seamless checkout experience. (Note that a seamless checkout experience does not exceed expectations.) Exceeding customer expectations could be:

  • Encouraging the user to create a login to gain loyalty rewards
  • Saving the payment information for an even faster checkout process in the future
  • Creating targeted emails with products featuring the user’s company logo obtained from the business card order
  • Using a push notification asking if the user needs to restock their supply

Find ways to be proactive in your business to save customers the work of making requests.

4. Deliver excellent customer service

Nowadays, customers are typically happy to have a self-service portal or chatbot for an expedient resolution to simple problems. Ensure you have these features available across your digital channels. When customers speak to a live agent, your sales and support agents should strive for the following:

  • Being knowledgeable about the product, service, or the issue
  • Resolving the problem within that single session (i.e., not needing to keep the case open for several days or longer)
  • Treating the customer with dignity and respect
  • Being a good listener
  • Demonstrating compassion and empathy
  • Using positive language

Also, know your customer’s preferred method of communication. For example, millennials may prefer using live chat, while older customers may prefer a phone call. If you’re not meeting customers on their preferred channel, your competitor will. 

Finally, consider analyzing your customer effort score as a barometer of your organization’s service performance with customers.


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Exceed, not just meet customer expectations with Optimizely

You must go beyond meeting customer expectations to expand your business. Optimizely’s Digital Experience Platform (DXP) helps you create exceptional user experiences at every digital touchpoint. Our personalization solutions build on real-time user data and insights to deliver content, campaigns and product recommendations that resonate with your customers. 

Contact Optimizely today to learn more about DXP.