Customers Will Behave Differently in 2013

by Jeannie Walters

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As we’re about to enter the annual ritual of turning the calendar page and looking at the fresh new year, it’s also the time to make predictions about what’s next. I predict your customers, the ones you think you know so well, will behave like strangers. Ready? They are already sending you signals.

1. Customers will experiment with your competition.

Barriers to switching from one service to another – whether it’s banking, CRM or the doctor you visit – are going away. Customers are selecting what works for them in the moment. Loyalty is going away. Your competitors are not always the big guys, either. They are the ones who are popping up when you are sleeping. With free trials and apps, your customers are not hesitating to check out the other guys even as they mark the “totally satisfied” box on your surveys.

2. Customers will use mobile for everything.

Mobile is for everything now, not just checking sports scores. Not only will customers research and buy via your mobile site, but they will expect to receive customer service in a seamless way, too. According to one report:

By 2015, airlines are expected to conduct nearly 73% of customer service transactions via mobile, compared to only 52% today, according to a Tata Consultancy Services survey.

Mobile customer support is expected already and the expectations will continue to rise. It’s time to invest in your mobile channel. It’s a real thing and customers will go elsewhere if you are not answering the phone there…literally.

3. Customers will hate on you publicly quickly.

This is sort of the trick question on the quiz. How do you define public anymore? In our recent infographic, we highlighted how a dissatisfied customer will tell 9 – 15 people. Here’s the real challenge – your customers are in places you are not even tracking. Yes, they are tagging your organization in Facebook and replying to you on Twitter, which are easy to track with fancy social media monitoring tools, but they’re also on Google+, Pinterest, Path and Snapchat. They’re sharing their frustrations in ways which were impossible until a few months ago in some cases. The next app to scare companies is just around the corner.

4. Customers will care even less what you say about yourself.

Advertising and marketing are challenging enough, but customers are now deciding about your products through reviews, both formal and informal. You’re not in control. Your customers are. Take note, when Bic created pens for women, the Amazon reviews were exercises in mockery both swift and stunning.

5. Customers will want to help each other.

Peer support is becoming a truly important way to provide service to your customers. 65% of customers expect to be able to engage with their peers on the branded Facebook page, according to Lithium Technologies. If this isn’t happening, why not? Your customers can often provide great, quick  support to one another.

The bottom line, of course, is how customer experience will continue to matter. Also, according to Lithium Technologies,

47% of consumers say they will SPEND more after having a good experience.

There is no way to know if you are prepared for the changing expectations of your customers if you are not evaluating the experience as it is, from the outside-in. When was the last time you did that?

There is more to discuss, like the continuation of the global world coming to us, the way younger generations view their digital experiences, and the challenges of an aging, yet increasingly savvy, population. But we can save that for another day.

Are you ready for 2013?

Photo credit: European Parliament & mikecogh via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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