Your product needs a premium experienceOpinion ·
The luxury/premium brand market has experienced an upward trajectory for several years now. According to Bain and Company, the luxury market has been growing consistently during the last few years and it is expected to reach €360-380 billion by 2025.
Such a huge demand for premium goods compels companies to offer customers a high-quality experience, matching the luxury product they offer. In recent years, luxury companies have been increasingly competing on the experience more than the product because of the democratization of even more sophisticated products.
Also, keep in mind that today’s customers are much more empowered than before. They not only have unlimited access to information, but their options are endless. Due to this, the importance and relevance of customer service experience for brands have skyrocketed. Customers won’t hesitate to take their needs elsewhere if you cannot fulfill their high expectations.
The premium products industry caters to a demographic that expects nothing but the best. Thus, luxury brands must consistently seek to raise the bar. Iconic premium brands like Apple, Versace, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton, are not making billions every year by accident. They offer excellent customer experiences that are brought to life through effective strategies.
The good news is that your high-end brand can offer a premium customer experience and get successful in the market by using the right strategies and partners. In today’s blog, we are going to explore how to identify customer expectations and live up to them.
Understanding customer expectations
First things first, what are customer expectations? Customer expectations are customer assumptions about a brand and its products/services. Customers have certain expectations about the level of care and attention they want to receive throughout the consumer journey. And these expectations extend into the post-sales stage as well.
Customer expectations depend on various factors, including advertisement, reviews and testimonials from other customers, previous experiences with your brand, and opportunities in the industry.
The levels of customer expectations have been significantly increasing over the last years. After the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 58% of customers have conveyed that their customer service expectations are higher today than they were a year back.
Meeting the rising customer expectations is mission-critical for brands of all stature. Whether you are a small, new business or a large, affirmed one, prioritizing customer expectations is paramount to your success in the industry.
Over the years, brands have placed immense importance on understanding and fulfilling consumer expectations. A study by Forbes states that 84% of businesses that work to improve their customer experience report a rise in revenue. Moreover, customer service is important to 96% of customers regarding brand loyalty.
However, in a crowded marketplace, customers want different things at different times and through various channels. So, how can brands keep up? Luckily, it is possible to get to some level of generalization. Here are some basic customer service expectations in every industry:
1. To feel heard and valued
A customer shopping experience is more than just a simple transaction. When customers invest their money in your brand, they are not only trusting you, but they are also giving you a payment as a vote of confidence that you are the ideal choice.
Therefore, customers expect to feel heard and valued throughout the journey. When the customer receives any communication from the brand, it should feel personal. Creating personalized communications with customers is essential to make them feel valued and important to you.
2. Easy and frictionless customer journey
If customers encounter barriers on their consumer journey, they will likely abandon your brand and seek a competitor in the industry. Remember that choices in the market are endless, customers have innumerable options, and roadblocks in the customer journey can make customers lose motivation.
To prevent this, brands should strive to create an easy and frictionless customer journey. While luxury brands have also been admired for their premium products, the luxury-level experience doesn’t come with its products. It comes with how the customers feel throughout the user experience and how they are treated by your representatives.
3. Convenient and streamlined channel communications
Nowadays, there is no lack of channels available to reach a brand’s customer support. Companies are simultaneously using a wide range of channels, such as email, social media, chatbots, knowledge bases, etc. Customers are used to this level of flexibility and expect convenient communication.
Brands must streamline their communications and implement different options in their customer service strategy. However, if you implement multiple channels without coordinating them, customers can get confused and the response time could drop significantly. For this reason, create a structure to make it easier for the customer to communicate with your agents.
4. To see their feedback being implemented
If you want to keep customer satisfaction high throughout their journey, you should focus on collecting feedback to improve your offering and services. Brands should successfully address customer queries and solve their issues. And, if you can’t satisfy them right away, your customers expect you to keep them informed about how you are gonna handle the issue and future actions.
In case you are not able to provide your customer with a solution, here are your options:
- Address their concern and feedback to improve your processes in the future.
- Inform them about any plans already in motion regarding the particular issue.
- Provide them with alternative solutions to their problems.
5. Quick responses to their requests
Customers are impatient and will not wait for you to fix their problems. If you’re not fast in providing them with a solution to their problem, they will try to fix it on their own. If dissatisfied, they will simply switch to another brand on the market. It is especially true for premium brands, whose customers are expecting to receive special treatment and would easily change brand if they experience poor customer service.
Almost 71% of consumers expect customer service to be faster than what they experience. In the digital age, features like instant messaging and one-click purchases heavily influence customer behavior, and brands have to find ways to adapt to it and provide instant solutions.
Why is it necessary to exceed customer expectations?
Expectations evolve and get more demanding. As a result, it is relatively easy to fall short in your customer’s eyes. But why is it so important to meet and exceed customer expectations?
73 % of customers will likely stop purchasing from a brand after three bad experiences. Thus, failing to meet your customer’s expectations can seriously affect your bottom line.
Customer expectations are important for several reasons:
It affects your brand reputation. Customers who think of your products and services as high-performing will perceive your brand positively and thus spread positive word-of-mouth.
It helps your brand stand out against competitors. When you provide an excellent experience, customers will likely recommend your brand to their friends and family, allowing you to stand out against competitors.
It increases brand satisfaction and loyalty. Fulfilling your customer expectations can motivate existing consumers to make future purchases from you.
It influences sales and boosts revenue. Customers who feel their expectations are met will continue to buy from you, thus helping you meet sales goals and increase profits.
How to accompany a great product without disappointing customers’ expectations?
Experts in the industry believe that customer service is a unique opportunity to meet your customer’s expectations. While not every brand has the resources to hire a team of professionals to curate a customer service strategy, one can still go above and beyond following some simple steps.
Here are a few tips on how to accompany your luxury products with a premium customer service experience.
1. Know your target demographic
Luxury brands offering premium products know they will only gain traction with a small percentage of wealthy (elite) customers. Therefore, they don’t waste time and resources marketing their products to the mainstream audience.
If you plan your marketing strategy to meet every group of customers' needs, you will probably waste significant time and resources. To build an effective customer service strategy, you need a substantial idea of who you are selling to. You can start by asking yourself questions like:
- Who are my ideal customers?
- What is their income level like?
- Which part of the world/cultural background are they from?
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- Where do they like to shop? (offline/online)
- What kind of content do they consume?
- What are their preferred communication channels?
Try to perform in-depth research to gain insights into your ideal client type. This will help you understand their needs and create luxury products that cater to their interests. In the end, the more you know about your ideal customers, the easier it will be to serve them.
2. Personalize the experience
Customers crave a personalized experience that satisfies their needs and desires. A study by Salesforce reports that almost 50% of customers ignore communications that are not personalized. More than 79% of customers have conveyed that a personalized experience is more valuable than personalized marketing.
Thus, customers want to shop with brands that treat them as distinct and unique individuals. A personalized experience encompasses collecting personal data about customers and then streamlining customer interactions.
By leveraging CRM technology, brands can build strong customer relationships and provide a personalized user experience.
3. Listen to their needs and adapt to them
Customer frustration is a common challenge brands encounter while delivering customer support. This frustration usually stems from the discontinuity between what your customers expect and what your brand delivers. Customer frustration can be effectively avoided by paying attention to customer needs and adapting to them.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that customer expectations are constantly changing. Brands must keep up with these trends and deliver consistent customer experiences in the luxury product industry.
4. Solve their problems as fast as possible
Concerning digital customer experience, 12% of customers convey that lack of speed is detrimental to customer service. Your customers find waiting times annoying and want their problems solved as fast as possible.
Brands need to speed up their customer support processes. Above all, this means actively checking for complaints across all communication channels and addressing them instantly. You can also leverage AI technology to facilitate quick responses while eliminating wait times.
5. Surprise them
Your customers want to be surprised. Surprising and delighting your customers is crucial to providing an unforgettable customer experience. The key is to have your customers walk away not just satisfied but overjoyed by the experience.
You can delight your customers in several ways. Include a hand-written thank you card with their order, give them freebies, offer a discount coupon, etc.
6. Protect their data
In the United States, 63% of customers are likely to share personal information with a company that offers them an incredible experience. But, there is a fine line between personalizing a customer’s shopping experience and customer privacy.
Customers want autonomy and transparency over the way you use their data. Brands should be clear about why they are collecting customer data and what they plan to do with it.
7. Collect customer feedback
To improve the experience, it is good practice to collect feedback from customers about customer service. Based on how customers think you are performing, you should adjust your effort to get closer to their needs and wishes.
What brands need to do to provide a premium customer experience for their luxury products is simply ask. Collect customer feedback using customer surveys to gauge how your brand is doing and areas where it needs to improve.
8. Provide omnichannel support
Customers demand flexibility and convenience when reaching out to brands. That means they have a preferred channel of communication, and this channel preference can vary across demographic and the complexity of the query. Brands should provide omnichannel support and have various options, including live chat, video conferencing, social media, SMS, email, physical stores, etc.
9. Leverage new technologies
Brands must stay ahead of the curve by leveraging new technologies and digital innovation. Keep in mind that 57% of customers think that retail innovations significantly improve their shopping experience. As technology keeps on evolving, so do customer experiences. Customers expect brands to leverage avant-garde tools like AI chatbots and video content to improve customer service.
Solutions like Layerise can help your brand incorporate innovative customer service solutions to build a premium customer experience.
10. Allow them to solve their problems autonomously
As more and more customers expect quick solutions, the best way to solve their problems is by empowering them to self-serve. By creating a knowledge system, FAQ sections, and a community of customers who communicate with each other, brands can extremely improve the user experience.
Self-service not only helps brands meet customer expectations by providing accurate information, but it also helps them reduce the burden on their support staff. By implementing self-service options, you will help both your customers and your customer care staff.
11. Be friendly and honest with them
The secret to providing top-tier customer service is being friendly, empathetic, and honest with your customers. Approach customer interactions with empathy, and guide your customers as you would guide a friend.
62% of customers said they have stopped purchasing from brands whose values do not align with theirs. Thus, what customers want is for brands to be genuine and transparent. You can be friendly and honest with your customers in several ways. Don’t be hesitant to apologize if you fall short. When things go wrong, accept responsibility, apologize, and fix it.
12. Prevent problems from arising instead of waiting to solve them
Customers strongly favor brands that are proactive when it comes to customer service. Previously, customer service was following a reactionary approach, but times are changing. Instead of waiting for your customers to reach out to your team with their concerns, prevent their problems from arising.
This is how brands can go the extra mile and exceed customer service expectations:
- Consistently check your business process, identify loopholes and weak points, and fix them.
- Create opportunities for your customers to provide feedback at any time.
- Create proactive content that customers can use whenever they encounter challenges in using your product.
- Make customer focus groups help you identify problems in your customer service strategy.
Examples of brands that offer premium customer experience
Customers who invest in luxury brands expect competence and confidence. A luxury brand’s duty is not just about creating luxury products but accompanying them with a premium customer experience.
Here are some examples of luxury brands with luxury customer shopping experiences:
Gucci describes its retail experience as “immersive.” Their customer experience is interactive and immersive and focuses on customer-centric engagement. Gucci allows customers to set and meet their expectations by putting them in control. In Gucci stores, customers are treated with extreme care and attention.
Walk into any Gucci store, and you will notice the difference in treatment. The best support staff guides customers within the flag store. In terms of digital experience, customers get Saturday delivery and free returns on their online purchases. This way, Gucci always takes the extra step in providing their customers with a pleasant experience.
GANNI strategy consists of delivering the best luxury experience in both stores and online. Within the physical stores, customers are treated in a way they can feel comfortable throughout the whole experience. Sales assistants are selected based on their deep knowledge of fashion and their attitude toward customers. They manage to offer an ideal buying experience and unified commerce features such as endless aisles, ship from store, click & collect, etc.
Most importantly, GANNI has been working toward creating an omnichannel shopping experience through stores using the latest technology, such as magic hangers and facial recognition, and a matching digital space supported by a more data-driven customer approach.
How Layerise can help you exceed your customers’ expectations?
Excellent customer service does not happen on its own. First, it takes adopting a customer-centric mindset and then finding the right tools to put intentional processes in motion. This is where Layerise can help your company make a difference!
With Layerise, brands can collect customer data and leverage that information to create personalized shopping experiences. By combining unique customer experience abilities with CRM and marketing, Layerise can help luxury brands establish strong customer relationships with their clients and build continuous revenue streams.
Layerise can help you offer your customers instructional and interactive content, self-service support and real-time 24/7 assistance through the chat feature. Luxury brands can also build automated marketing campaigns based on their target audience, make their send-outs personal, and increase conversions.
If you want to learn more about how Layerise can help you accompany your premium products with a premium customer shopping experience, book a free demo now!
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