As part of an ongoing series, Rosetta asked its top thought leaders about what customers expect from brands in 2015 and how those expectations have changed. In this third installment, our executives discuss the extent to which marketers are actually meeting those expectations.
Tammy Soares, Executive Vice President, Rosetta West
As brands look to orient their efforts in a very customer-centric way, it is clear that the demands and expectations customers have are outpacing the ability of brands to meet this demand. Customers are increasing their expectations in an exponential curve, and not only do brands have to provide the standard set of offerings (e.g., customer service, social media response, etc.), but brands now must align with an even more personal set of values. We’ve already seen some social change movements hit the right chord with customers, while others have polarized them. Starbucks created controversy with its #RaceTogether campaign, yet brands like Apple and Walmart got positive responses to their stance on recent state laws seen as targeting the LBGT community.
“How brands go about finding and engaging with the right customers—and meeting their expectations—will define their success in the marketplace.”
— Tammy Soares, EVP, Rosetta West
Be it behavior, beliefs, shared values, customer service, retailing, social currency or exclusive access it is clear that these expectations literally shape brands today as defined by the customer and not the other way around. What began as the industry working to develop 1:1 and customer engagement marketing has now quickly shifted to creating deeply close and personal ways for the customer to align with brands through digital technology and experiences. How brands go about finding and engaging with the right customers—and meeting their expectations—will define their success in the marketplace.
Paul Elliott, Executive Vice President, Innovation & Thought Leadership
I actually don’t think customer expectations of brands have evolved much over the past year, due in part to most brands’ inability to respond to customers’ increasing omni-channel needs. While there are pockets of innovation and advancement, most are disconnected efforts tied to innovation labs, test stores, or flagship stores. Today’s customers’ needs (ubiquitous access and customer service, convenience driven through personalization, etc.) have largely gone unmet, due to the organizational complexities tied to delivering upon them.
“Today’s customers’ needs… have largely gone unmet due to the organizational complexities tied to delivering upon them.”
— Paul Elliott, EVP, Innovation & Thought Leadership
Beacons, Wi-Fi, RFID, facial recognition, wearable technology and virtual reality all hold interesting possibilities for delivering innovative customer experiences, but until brands deliver on the basics, these technologies will simply remain PR fodder, instead of catalysts for deeper customer engagement.
Steve Gatto, Partner, Rosetta Europe
As brands strive to deliver on increasing customer expectations, they need to tread wisely. Cavalier attempts that are not properly designed can backfire, particularly when it comes to ever-growing security concerns across many customer segments. Concerns heightened over the last year through public breaches, including Target (~40 million U.S. credit and debit card records; ~70 million records containing personal information), Neiman Marcus Group (1.1 million customer credit cards) and Tesco (thousands of accounts breached), and consumers have reason to be worried. Brands are working to overcome security vulnerabilities, but the work is ongoing. Customers tend to give brands the benefit of the doubt for unintentional missteps, but with each breach, they will make brands work harder to earn that second chance.
“Customers tend to give brands the benefit of the doubt for unintentional missteps, but with each breach, they will make brands work harder to earn that second chance.”
— Steve Gatto, Partner, Rosetta Europe
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