Bridging the gap between your Customer Expectations & Experience
The gap needs closing. On average, there is still a gap between what the customer expects and the actual experience they get from brands they engage with. In a recent study by PWC, the gap exists in practically all industries.
From the above, you could almost conclude that delivering 100% satisfaction to all customers, at all times is a war in itself. But while customer experience perfection is a dream, it is very possible to deliver and record very high levels of customer satisfaction when attention is placed on some key areas.
Here they are!
Align your Business Objectives to Customer Needs
The gap is already created when business goals don’t align with customer needs. It is not enough to desire what you want the customer to experience. It is more about understanding what the customer needs and building the experience around it. Taking emerging technologies as an example, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help deliver great customer support, but when the focus is more on technology, without realising the importance of maintaining human centricity, the customer’s experience is left to chance. Businesses that desire to close the gap and deliver better customer experiences must design the experience with the customer in mind.
Understand Customers’ Top Needs
In today’s competitive marketplace, quality and price are a given, if you want to attract any customer. Going beyond that is customer experience, the reason why many customers will buy from a brand continuously or never return. But customer needs vary by priority. For brands that do this well, they pay attention to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly support, to deliver services that rank high on the customer satisfaction scorecard. But these are only a foundation. In a world of more enlightened consumers, businesses must pay close attention to customers to really understand their top priorities. The more you know, the more you can deliver the expected customer experiences.
Empower Employees to Deliver Excellently
No matter the robustness of customer experience strategies designed by business leaders, poor execution can render strategies useless. In practical terms, a business may build a robust strategy on how to attract, serve and retain their customers, but if the shop floor teams have no clue how to handle customer situations, you will only find such brands firefighting customer issues. This is where empowerment comes in, equipping teams with the knowledge, training and tools required to deliver excellently to customers. As an example, luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton have given employees the freedom to use up to $2000 to rescue a bad customer experience. Think about it, how much is $2000 in comparison to a 5-day $500 per night customer that visits twice a year, and possibly annually? Do the maths and you would realise that $2000 spend is worth rescuing a customer that pays more than spends much more than that over the years.
Mind the Gap
The summary of it all is a focus on real customer needs and positioning your organisation to align accordingly. With the right goals and objectives, proper execution and continuous customer feedback, any brand can win more market equity, retain it’s customers, increase sales, and derive the various other benefits of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
The gap between the customer’s expectations and actual experiences need to be filled and any business that achieves doing that will stand out in the market place.