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Liquid Expectations

Liquid Expectations

During the International Builder Show in Las Vegas last week, I discussed the concept of “Liquid Expectations”, a term originally coined by Baiju Shah. Simply put, as consumers interact with one product or company, their point of view for other (often unrelated) products and services are shifted. The expectations flowing from interaction with one company to the next. This can include the world class customer service of Nordstrom, the ease of ordering online with Amazon, or the personalized service of your local Starbucks barista.

For the first time, marketers are being forced to look beyond direct competition and evaluate the experiences being delivered outside their core industry. The standards are being raised and I suspect many businesses are not ready.

The popular ecommerce site Zappos is a prime example of Liquid Expectations for website content. For every product being sold, they build out a robust library of content to help the customer understand their product. That’s 20+ photographs, nearly 90 seconds of videos, and dozens of reviews from loyal customers for a single pair of shoes. Take a look at your product online, does it deliver the same message and detail?

The ride-sharing phenomenon Uber facilitates over 2 million rides per day. Riding Uber is easy. Launch the app, click a button and a clean car with a personal driver is dispatched. Within 5 minutes, an Uber ride appears at your location, ready to whisk you away to your destination. Comparatively, are you disappointing customers with slow followup or slow service? Today, letting a single call go to voicemail is enough to loose a sale.

If you are a regular coffee drinker like me, your local Starbucks barista might remember you when you walk thru the door. They will probably call you by name and often start preparing your favorite drink. This personalization of services is not unlike the homepage of Amazon.com, that displays recently viewed and recommended products. Does your website personalize the experience once you know who your customers are?

Ultimately, businesses ready and able to step up to the demands of these Liquid Expectations will benefit. Those that exceed and set new expectations will thrive.

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