Brand loyalty is tied to customer expectations
Companies across the globe have embraced advertising so much that it is arguably one of the biggest industries in the world. Even Google, which we all know as a technology giant, is actually an advertising giant. Facebook’s value has more to do with its advertising potential than anything else.
Advertising, like all media platforms, is all about exaggerating a situation to draw attention towards it. While at it, there is often a huge temptation to take this exaggeration to another level raising customers. This in itself is not so bad since most advertising is premised on the same. The challenge now is that of meeting the expectations raised.
Customers as expected fall for the adverts and look forward to what they saw on TV, heard on radio or other platforms like the internet or billboards. Anytime they find a remarkable difference between the two then they will vote with their feet.
For example a transport company that talks about being a punctual, a customer will expect just that, a bus that leaves at the dot not 30 minutes later. So when the delay happens, a customer will be compelled to try another company.
It is even worse in the hospitality industry whose dynamics are largely determined by recommendations from other customers. One dissatisfied customer can convince hundreds more never to step at your premise. In this era of Web 2.0 where anyone can publish things online the damage can be difficult to estimate.
Unfortunately many businesses still gloss over these issues with some even arrogantly reasoning that after all it is just one person whose money they can do without. There is no mistake greater than this one. That one client will talk to other people about how they were treated and that is when the absence of clients will affect your pocket.
The dissatisfaction is always a result of expectations not met. And so instead of just concentrating on more advertising companies need to focus on meeting customer expectations and doing a good job at consistence.
Companies should, for instance, invest in regular customer surveys to find out what the customers are looking for when they choose to use your services. On a smaller scale, always find the time to ask one or two customers if they have been treated well and are happy with what they found. This often works better than placing a suggestion box somewhere on the premises.
If it is a restaurant, waitresses and waiters should make small talk to find out if the customers are happy not just bringing the order and the bill. In case of a problem it is important to point out that it is not the practice of the company and that an improvement will be made.
If no reassurances are offered then the chances of pissed of clients finding audience with other pissed off clients creates a force that you may not be able to deal with. It is no longer mythical to find hate pages on social networks. One pissed off client opens it and so many others join and negatively portray your company at zero cost.
While you spend millions in advertising, the few whose expectations were not met will be ‘facebooking’ and tweeting at minimum cost but causing maximum damage. To get loyal customers, a company has to offer a good and consistent service.
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