Promise less; deliver the promise – changes in customer expectations.

Gone are the days when big promises used to bring customers in flocks to the store. Technology and specifically the internet have changed the whole business scenario. Though we perceive that the easy accessibility of online stores has made the customer more demanding, if we look at it from another angle it may be working the other way round. Yes the customer is more demanding still but the customer demand has become more specific rather than waiting for lots of offers and goodies.
Let us make this clearer through real life scenarios. Imagine yourself as a customer. You have booked a hotel room directly over phone in one of the three star hotels in a city. You got the best price after bargaining over the phone and the moment you enter the room you start complaining on the size of the room, to the size of the bathroom, to the colour of the window shades, the service quality of the room boy and what not. Now if the same room was booked by you through a mobile app like OYO and you get the same room for the same price as before you don’t complain on anything. You will just stay there in the same mediocre room with mediocre facilities till you have completed your business trip. Yes it is all about the quintessential PROMISE. The customer expectation while booking an OYO room is way less than the hotel offering its facilities directly just because OYO promises less and the customer EXPECTS less.
If you are not yet convinced extend the imagination to any other product. Say you are a customer who has gone to buy a pair of shoes from an offline store which advertised 50% off (of course with a *conditions apply that no one can read). Your expectation is to get a good deal on a good brand. The moment you enters the store you come to know it is only on selected models. Years back in a same scenario you may try to select from those 50% items but in today’s world you would just walk away from the store as you have other hundreds of options. Now even if you buy from the store after umpteen number of try outs and checkups, the moment you come back home you might think it was not a good deal and want to return it. If the same shoes you buy on an offer from an online store like myntra you don’t expect your shoes to be more valuable than you pay, even expect it to have some faults but most probably end up using it even though returning it to myntra is quite easy.
So again it is all about the PROMISE. The less you promise the better the customer will be satisfied. The better a customer is satisfied the better they come back. If still not convinced just go to any store, even big brand showrooms and you can see any tall claims with hidden agendas out rightly being rejected by customers. Extend this thought to any product be it cars, airlines or any service offerings or even movies and you will be convinced of this change.
This doesn’t mean offers & discounts are not attractive to customers. Actually customers are all the time looking out for offers but they bite only the ones they feel are genuine ones. So promise only what you can deliver. Try to deliver more than you promise. Customer expectations are more realistic nowadays and this is a blessing in disguise for businesses. Less offers means better bottom lines and turning out your customer to a loyal one is not any more based on cut throat competitions on price but on the genuineness of the product or service. The new age customer is not looking for tall claims from you but transparency in what you are offering them. The customer is not looking to buy from the No.1 in the business all the time nor is he looking to buy from the biggest showroom in town. His expectations have come down. He is looking out for genuine PROMISES, the ones that he expects you to deliver. Mind you, PROMISE LESS; DELIVER MORE is not a new thought, it is one of the basics of brand building & marketing communication. Better go back to the basics to meet the new customer expectations rather than being worn out by over feeding the customer expectations with tall undeliverable promises.