Are our expectation levels changing? I believe they are and my conclusion is that internet shopping is largely to blame - but that may not be a bad thing.
In the day of instant online answers to our questions and shopping via our computer and smart devices our expectation levels as customers have increased and it's been working it's way into the traditional trades and services sector for a few years now.
At Stirling Electrical Services and Stirling Alarms a large part of our service is being reactive to customers who have unexpected electrical and security alarm problems so we are geared up as much as we can be to respond as quickly as possible but increasingly we are finding our customer service team are receiving more phonecalls from customers who these days not 'hope' for a quick response but 'expect' a very quick response.
Back to my theory regarding the internet being a cause for increasing expectation levels, I can relate to this in my own experience. I love internet shopping especially for electronic gadgets and devices and purchase many items online for the business and for home and I admit that I will pay slightly extra if it means I receive the goods quicker.
Several examples of how the internet and especially delivery timescales are affecting our expectation levels was this weekend when on Friday I ordered goods from Amazon. Not only could I pick up the goods ordered on Amazon immediately at my local Argos store in a partnership between those companies when I returned the item I purchased on Saturday mid-morning as it was defective I was told that (instead of waiting until Monday as I expected too for a replacement) I could return to Argos later that afternoon when a replacement would be delivered to Argos for me to pick up.
Another example from this weekend was on late Saturday afternoon when I again ordered goods via Amazon and expected a Monday delivery but in fact I could choose for the goods to be delivered free (Amazon Prime member) on Sunday. The goods arrived at my home late Sunday afternoon.
Yes on Sunday, the last few years has seen many of the delivery companies starting a Sunday delivery service to meet the growing demand and expectations of online shopping.
The above examples add to the recent orders I have placed just minutes before midnight on Amazon for delivery the following day and I believe Next also offer a late at night ordering service for following day delivery.
Our expectation levels and demands are increasing and the instant answers and service driven by internet shopping is well on the way to affecting the expectation levels within other business sectors, and you know what I think it's a good thing.
These days when a customer of mine expects me to have an electrician hiding around the corner just on the rare chance that they may have an electrical problem so we can respond to in a matter of minutes, then although I will initially feel they are being unreasonable to expect an electrician to be waiting just for them, it does get me thinking and makes me take a step back and ponder about how we operate and how we can work towards improving our service level.
Customers expectations, yes for us business leaders they can be a pain at times but as leaders we must put ourselves in our customers shoes at every opportunity and improve and align our own business services as much as possible to match the changing customer exception levels as well as keeping an eye on and learning from other business sectors.
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