What challenges do brands face with staying ahead of customer expectations?

When we consider how a customer feels about their experience with a brand, the customer’s expectation plays a very important part. There are a number of factors that influence the expectations including...

When we consider how a customer feels about their experience with a brand, the customer’s expectation plays a very important part. There are a number of factors that influence the expectations including the industry sector, the product/service, historic experience, marketing and brand perception, just to name a few.

Performance in People (PiP) has created a formula for this:

Satisfaction equals Experience divided by Expectation:

In simple terms, the higher a customer’s expectation, the better the customer experience needs to be to deliver customer satisfaction. We have all seen examples of 3-star hotels powering their way to the top of Trip Advisor – was that because the experience was truly better than 5-star alternatives or more is it likely the customer received an excellent service against their 3-star expectations? This raises a number of interesting considerations. Customer expectations are continually rising and it can be very difficult for brands to exceed these expectations and remain competitive.


There are a number of challenges that organisations face:

The majority of brands recognise customer service is a key differentiator:

Even smaller transactional environments realise the importance of delivering a great customer experience and are subsequently investing heavily in improving this. This provides an even bigger challenge to big ticket brands who are renowned service providers; they recognise this status delivers enhanced customer footfall often with a demographic who will pay a premium for products and services. These brands need to ensure the service delivery is higher than industry averages if they are going to deliver total satisfaction against their customers’ demanding expectation

Advances in technology can put pressure on service delivery:

In today’s modern world, the use of technology is continually increasing. PiP has been many examples on our video mystery shops where technology has created a barrier between the customer and member of staff. Examples include the staff member becoming too reliant on technology to deliver the experience, making minimal eye contact and limited customer interaction. On the other hand, when applied correctly, technology can make a great difference to the customer experience. Technology can be used to involving the customer in the buying process and even by sending personalised video messages instead of leaving a voicemail.

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The impact of varying levels of service across multi-channel communication:

There are multiple methods of communication customers can use to make contact with a brand e.g. website, email, telephone, live chat. The challenge brands face is maintaining a consistent level of service across all areas of the business where customers make contact with so many people. Brands need to ensure all staff are trained and knowledgeable in the organisations’ explicit standards which outlines the company’s minimum service expectation. Through robust training and application, the business will begin to see a consistent approach.

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The impact one customer can have on the brand:

If a customer receives a bad customer experience, it is highly likely they will tell their friends and family about this experience and shop elsewhere. Brands need to be aware that if this situation was to occur, it isn’t simply the transaction value of that single visit. Customer lifetime value is an important consideration for brands. Even in small transaction environments, if the customer remains loyal and returns on a regular basis, over the course of their lifetime they could have spent thousands of pounds which is the equivalent to a big-ticket purchase. Looking after customers and making the buying process as easy as possible will encourage repeat business and customer satisfaction.

PiP has considered consumer expectations within their BMS® methodology and conducted consumer research to understand how consumers’ expectations across our 6 key behaviours vary across 14 different face to face service environments. If you would like to find out more, contact us directly.