There’s surely no better time to really push the boat out and fly business class than on your honeymoon, right? 

Unfortunately, I listened to my bank account and took the sensible route, sticking with economy. I mean, really, it wasn’t like upgrading was a realistic option. But I took a minute to daydream nonetheless.

To be honest, I was perfectly happy. We’d chosen a well-known airline with a strong and established reputation. 

Or so I thought. 

While I’ve always had a good experience on long-haul flights, unfortunately, this particular airline didn’t meet my expectations. 

The entertainment choices were poor and the TV screens looked like they hadn’t been updated since the 1980’s. I was offered water just twice in 12 hours. And the food was terrible.

Admittedly my expectations were high, as I realised on discovering that the last two airlines I’ve flown with - Singapore Airlines and Qatar - were rated as the two best airlines in the world this year. Had I not become accustomed to luxury chocolates and endless offers of Singapore Slings, perhaps this time around I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. 

The problem is, my inflated expectations made it impossible for me to not pick fault.

It got me thinking about rising customer expectations and the pressure brands are under to keep up.

This article reporting on KMPG Nunwood's annual Customer Experience Excellence index suggests that brands are struggling to keep pace. 10,000 consumers rated brands on six metrics believed to drive brand advocacy and loyalty: personalisation, time and effort, resolution, integrity, expectations and empathy. There was found to be minimal improvement in the overall score.

Banking brands First Direct and Metro Bank claimed the top two spots in the ranking. As the only bank to open seven days a week, Metro Bank is redefining the branch experience. And it’s seen customer numbers surge as a result. 

At the other end of the scale, restaurant chain Wagamama and travel agent Virgin Holidays were amongst those that have dropped down the list this year.

As quoted in the article, KMPG Nunwood director David Conway says, “There is a bit of a disconnect between what customers expect and brands getting to a point where they can implement those changes. It’s all about speed and pace and responsiveness. It’s how quickly these businesses are able to detect a change and react to it that makes a difference.”

From a marketing perspective, the implications of rapidly increasing customer expectations are huge.