Rethinking Customer Expectations

Three years ago nearly to the day, I had one of the least satisfying shopping experiences of my life. Ironically, it was with a luxury car dealership backed by a customer service promise that it badly broke.

The salesperson treated me rudely, telling me that the invoice information that I was accessing on my smartphone was wrong. Of course, I was looking at the mobile version of Consumer Reports data that has proven to be a cost-saver for years. But this guy could not acknowledge the new reality created by real-time connectivity.

Now, with nearly all customers carrying and using mobile devices to make buying decisions, businesses of all sizes need to react to the new reality.

“We have to rethink how consumers are accessing information, communicating with others, and the expectations they now have on brands,” says Denny Suh, digital brand manager, Capital One. “It’s no longer mobile versus not mobile. They want immediately and in real time, and in whatever format is most convenient.” 

Rethinking Customer Expectations
Suh predicts even more consumer expectation in 2013, setting up opportunity for small and medium-size businesses to compete and win.

“I believe the mobile adoption rate will continue to follow a hockey-stick-like curve,” Suh says. “I also believe that consumers will demand brands and retailers to deliver a great mobile experience – and they will vote with their taps and swipes or lack thereof. “

Suh’s advice for marketers and business owners?

“First of all, do not opt out (of using mobile),” he says. “Next, there is no need to continue to test the water, because mobile is here to stay. The third thing not to do is to have your eye so far out ahead that you forget what has worked in the past.

“Finally, do not treat your mobile campaigns just like your online campaigns. They are distinct channels, they have distinct user paths and distinct sets of consumer expectations from brands. And the KPIs (key performance indicators) can vary- that is OK. “

Capital One is expanding its mobile initiatives in the coming year. It certainly isn’t the only business to follow this route.


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Rethinking Customer Expectations