Fast Company has a good piece about how to stay out of the customer’s dog house.
(Actually, the magazine uses another euphemism for being in trouble with the customer. It is a kind of list. The kind none of us want to be on. You can read about it here.)
The dog house “isn’t going away,” Fast Company argues. “In fact, consumer expectations are making it easier to land there than ever. We’ve come to expect all of our in store shopping to be as intuitive as the Apple Store, our information searches to be as easy and relevant as Google, our customer service to be as responsive as Zappos, and our technology interactions to be as seamless as Zipcar. Part of this is because modern consumers interact with so many services in such rapid succession. If you’re traveling, you might pass through the hands of a dozen service providers in just a few hours, including airline, airport, rental car company, Yelp, restaurant, hotel, credit-card company, and Facebook. This proximity prompts continual comparison.”
But these constant comparisons, the story suggests, ought to be seen as license to borrow/steal/imitate examples of how other companies take care of shoppers: “If you know your customers’ expectations are being shaped by another category (or provider), then it’s time to start borrowing, heavily and without shame. But it’s also time to sweat out the details--to figure out how to fulfill those expectations in a way that customers will embrace. On a flattened playing field with a multitude of players, customers expect service innovation as well as delivery.”
This just reinforces the notion that because, for consumers, all boundaries and barriers are coming down, retailers need to think the same way - looking everywhere for inspiration and innovation, because shoppers are finding the highest standard and holding everyone to it.