16 Oct Acceptable vs. Desired: The Power of Balance, Diversity, Inclusivity and Trust in Customer Evolution
Humans are innovative creatures: the internet, AI, cold brew coffee. Innovation means change and change is bumpy. (More updates? I thought I updated this app yesterday.) It is rarely smooth across the board. (Have you ever tried to send emojis from an Android to an iPhone user? What does rectangle mean?) Customer evolution inspires change. (A double shot, half-sweet, low-fat dairy milk latte with whipped cream and cocoa powder please.) As better and better products and experiences are created, customer demands shift with them. What was once acceptable becomes insufficient. Customers expect what they desire (like a heated tea tray in their car rear console. Yes, that’s a thing).
Trust is desired. (Even outsourcing laundry is trusting a stranger with your underwear.) Lasting customer-brand relationships require some level of trust. The increase in technological services requires greater faith from consumers as they are asked to give more and more personal data to use goods and services. (Enter your SSN, DOB, address and blood type here.)
As the Nielsen Total Consumer Report 2019 details, brands need to value and protect the faith they receive from customers. “Trust is a currency, and every time a product or experience lets a person down, there is a breakdown in the value of that currency.”
With all of the data breaches of major brands like Yahoo, Capital One and Equifax, it’s easy to see why customers are more discerning. The initiation of the GDPR protecting EU consumer data is just one step toward addressing the risks the internet has created. Abuse of customer data is not acceptable. It destroys trust and broken trust is difficult to rebuild.
“For brands, perception is everything. If people begin to think you are not looking out for their best interests, or are putting profit over common sense protections, it becomes difficult to turn around those negative feelings once they begin to harden.”
Balance, Diversity and Inclusivity
The Expert Outlook 2019: Find Balance report “takes a broad-based look at the trends that are shaping consumers lives in 2019 and brands that are in tune with the shifts.” This report reflects the consumer desire to address ‘reality’ not escape it (Netflix vs. woke).
Consumers’ views are evolving with their expectations. Brands that understand consumer values are in a better position to develop relationships.
Beauty is an industry that has expanded to embrace all races, ages and sexes. (Has beauty ever really been one size fits all anyway?) The iconic beauty brand Chanel has released a male make up line. This is a luxury brand that has been around for over 100 years. They saw a customer desire and a gap in the market and they filled it.
Pamela N. Danziger is one of the experts that participated in the Expert Outlook Report. In her article, she reiterates the consumer desire to go beyond sustainability to a consumerism that actively benefits ecosystems. Customers are seeking brands that reflect their values. The reduction of harmful impact is no longer acceptable. There is a desire for balance and improvement.
From customer service strategist John Tschohl: “In most companies, Tschohl said, employees “know they will be fired, they will be yelled at, or they will be told ‘That’s coming out of your pay’” if they take initiative and offer a discount or refund a fine without stopping to get permission from a supervisor. Making the customer happy could mean losing their job. Given those odds, most agents are going to protect their own skin. And that’s not in the company’s interest.” – If you want customers to trust you, trust your agents to make them happy, Zendesk Relate
Once consumers realize they can have a far better experience elsewhere they have no reason to go back. If what they save in price they pay in disappointment, it isn’t worth the discount. Customers resent paying for disappointment and resentment is poison to the customer-business relationship.
Give customers what they desire by giving your service team the tools they need to make customer experience great. Recognize that your customers are evolving. Let them inspire your business and tools to evolve too.