Has the recession resulted in UK consumers expecting better service and more bang for their buck? Are brands aware of customers' raised expectations and what can they do to adequately address these demands of better value for money coupled with a can-do, no-nonsense, customer-first attitude?
Across service industries, the recession acted as a catalyst for change. It opened the eyes of consumers who, some may argue, had for years, been complacently paying the same over-inflated prices for goods and services while being subjected to sub-standard customer care. The tightening of everyone's purse strings also meant that globally, we have all taken a step back and re-evaluated our expectations and the true value of every product we purchase.
Although arguably over, the recession's repercussions for brands and businesses are still being felt. As a result, and to keep ahead of the game, these brands and businesses have evolved in terms of delivery, standards and customer care. Brands that might have imagined that being recession-proof is just about price competitiveness should think again, as those that failed to evolve along the way, including some budget high street stores like Peacocks and Woolworths, have experienced severe consequences.
In fact, a recent report from J.D. Power & Associates suggests that consumer expectations have heightened and that instead of wanting the lowest priced product they "expect a superior product that is delivered in a compelling presentation, through fast and easy-to-understand processes that are supported by responsive and concerned people".
At Roamler we have experienced this phenomenon first-hand. Our product has been created for brands, such as Walkers, Red Bull and TomTom, to recruit consumers to act as brand ambassadors and evangelists on their behalf. These 'Roamlers' gather valuable objective insight on their iPhones to report back on the customer service they received, placement of products in store, the best use of promotional or point of sale material, the quality of the product they enjoyed and any other feedback that might be useful for informing a brand's marketing efforts.
This real-time approach to market research not only puts the emphasis on the brand to ensure their goods are always produced to the highest standards and that their products are price competitive but it also gives the brand a bird's-eye view of the retailer to ensure they too are delivering the product the way it should be.
Most importantly this unadulterated feedback gives power back to the consumer whilst rewarding them with real cash commissions. The benefit for the brand meanwhile is the crowdsourcing element which provides the ability to gain cost-effective, objective market insight from a mobile workforce that can be assembled instantaneously.