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What customers experience before they buy

Customers may experience a service without really experiencing it through advertising, media or word-of-mouth.

What does advertising do to your anticipation?

It’s important to build expectation for an experience; however, traditional advertising is no longer working as well as before since people can find the information they need elsewhere. Advertising is part of a service experience, but don’t tell consumers what to expect, they want to experience things for themselves and talk to other people about it.

Anticipation evolves because the difference between when a consumer learns about a service experience and when she uses it is becoming blurred. Media experiences that resemble, or are part of the actual product let users know what to expect. Also, as a customer, it’s comforting to indulge in entertaining media that build anticipation for the real service.

There’s an abundance of digital tools that provide consumers with information and entertainment that also builds anticipation for particular product experiences. More and more advertisers use an amalgam of advertising and publishing, where the promotion of products is in the form of media publications.

Why media presence builds expectancy for an experience?

Media coverage of products or services shapes users’ expectations. Earlier, you needed media owners to tell your story in their publications; now you can establish your own media publications. As a company, you can’t completely control all the activity that revolves around you, but you can publish content that gives the right impression and thereby shapes expectation.

“Customer satisfaction

reflects the expectations…”

– Scott Smith

Social media is present in many people’s lives; the impression you make directs people’s attention and forms their preconceptions. You manage customer expectations by being relevant to your user’s personality, and the context that she is in.

Users’ activity in social media happens before, during and after the actual customer experience. To be able to engage, you to need to be convenient for users at every stage. By continually communicating with customers, they in turn communicate with their network around the world.

How do you influence customers to listen to word-of-mouth?

When experiences surpass customers’ expectations, they feel compelled to talk about them. A great experience, including media experiences, urges people to share with others. It’s important that the service is relevant, unique and of high quality.

You increase the likelihood of word of mouth when you build a community of people who are willing to pass on referrals about you. To establish this community, you need to create a presence through publishing your credentials, writing journals and speaking publicly. Customers will like an organization based on the level of trust they have to the person that talked to them about it. To be effective, you need several mouths to tell the same story.

Media might ignite communication about a company, but you’re likely to get better recommendations when a customer has experienced your product or service. Word of mouth is something that happens "outside" the realm of what you communicate in your regular advertising. Don’t be tempted to promise in your advertising what you’ve heard through word of mouth, as this will take away your customer’s potential to appear as an expert.

Christian Leborg

Christian Leborg

Christian Leborg is a visual communicator and branding consultant. He specialises in building brand strategies and brand identities. Christian has worked with several specializations within visual communication as well as teaching and being an author. Christian now works on his third stint as an entrepreneur.