Thursday, July 4, 2013

The expectation dry-up?

We have been mentioning that the moment of truth is the point where a brand is made or broken. This is where either a satisfied customer glorifies the product/service or an unhappy customer dismisses it. We know for a fact that most of the time the customer is left dissatisfied. We lay the onus on the service provider and complain that service levels have to improve – and then there’s lethargy. But then there is the Indian consumer who is so used to poor service that she is almost immune to it! In the comparison between expectation and delivery, we can see that since the expectations are so low, it’s no surprise that delivery levels are so poor.

This could probably be attributed to years and years of poor service, long queues and red tape that has adversely conditioned the Indian consumer psyche. It is sometimes due to this mindset, that when something out of the ordinary is provided, the Indian customer is overawed. For example, an Indian consumer is easily thrilled when a DTH service provider promises service in 24 hours and it actually happens! But isn't this what the company has always promised?

So let’s sum it up. It would seem that as an ecosystem we are already meeting expectations and with the considerably low levels these expectations are surviving at, we are headed towards an era of customer indifference. Or we quite possibly are already there. Practitioners have been talking about great customer service for years now but service providers continue to ignore the calls, yet they preach about the Zappos of the world without ever intending to change a single process internally. Customer indifference could soon lead to a drying up of differentiators or marketing ‘hooks’. We would then go back to a market that differentiates on factors like price and product design that we know are unsustainable.

Looks like soon, that DTH customer we spoke about is going to become an exception to a rule no one cares for. 

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