The reviews are all five stars.
CX surveys are conducted.
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are a type of CX metric.
We’d all like to know how much someone enjoys our brand, product, service, experience, or even ourselves.
Any company with a marketing department wants to know how satisfied its customers are – or how dissatisfied they are.
Has the CX met or exceeded their expectations?
And if not, what’s the hold-up?
The realm of CX is loaded with difficulties, so in this second installment of our six-part series, we’ll look at the alarming fact that most businesses believe their customer experience is much better than what their consumers believe.
Bain’s study exposed the surprising reality years ago:
Only 8% of clients said their business provided a “great experience.”
That’s a significant gap in perception.
How is it possible, though?
Why do marketers believe their CX is greater than it is in an era when we have unparalleled ability to assess sentiment, reaction times, ratings and reviews, and other kinds of consumer touch-point opinion?
The Perception Gap Is Caused by Five Fatal Flaws
There are more than five fatal defects if we’re being honest with ourselves here.
But, for the sake of brevity, we’ll start with these — any one of which may be entirely to blame for your lack of understanding of your client’s true feelings.
1. Ignorance – We Aren’t Aware of What We Aren’t Aware Of
Isn’t it true that ignorance is bliss?
Although the ostrich’s head in the sand appears to be secure, we know it is not.
Failure is inevitable if you don’t constantly monitor, measure, and enhance the CX.
This is due to two key factors:
1. You don’t have a starting point for process improvement since you don’t have a baseline.
You’ll never know how excellent or horrible the client experience is unless you first become aware of the process and then enhance it.
It doesn’t matter if you get some compliments or some complaints.
It’s critical to collect genuine data and devise a strategy for acting on it.
2. The business world is in constant flux.
Your competitors are striving to improve.
Your customers’ expectations are always changing and growing.
Even if unrelated, improvements in customer experience in other industries will have an impact on yours.
How long can you wait on hold before it becomes unbearable?
The amount of time a consumer spends on hold should be zero.
That’s why some businesses — perhaps not yours yet — use automated call-back features to reduce consumer friction.
If you don’t have the resources or experience in-house, try increasing the budget, hiring more people, training, or hiring advisers to assist you to address the problem.
You may believe your customer service is better than it is, but you will need knowledge, data, and a strategy to enhance it.
The truth is that a poor customer experience costs significantly more than most people believe.
2. Information Gaps – We Don’t Ask the Correct Questions at the Correct Time
You’re doing it incorrectly if your company doesn’t know, with accuracy, and have a strategy for input from each encounter throughout the client journey.
All of these encounters, touchpoints, and opportunities to fulfill or fail the customer’s expectations exist.
You may have a thorough strategy for each of those contact points, but what about the actual customer journey?
What if they don’t stick to your well-planned route?
They’re unlikely to do so.
Your strategy must change if the consumer meets a touch-point at a different time or location than the one you intended.
Of course, every firm and organization is different, therefore you must be in charge of customizing it for your specific conditions.
Each product, service line, dealer, or reseller needs a plan tailored to their business model.
It’s critical to be able to track the customer’s experience before, during, and after the transaction.
3. We don’t like the answers, therefore we’re in denial.
On a level with not asking, refusing to take criticism might paralyze you as well.
Is your company’s culture one of openness and transparency when it comes to unpleasant news?
Or does someone cherry-pick the positive statistics while burying the negative ones?
You’ve probably heard that acknowledging an issue is the first step toward addressing it.
So, take the news with a grain of salt.
Assign a name to the present state and strive toward the future state.
My first work out of high school was at a burger shop, where I swiftly rose through the ranks to become the shift manager.
My boss would drop by on occasion and ask a pointed inquiry, such as, “Why aren’t all these stock supplies transferred onto the shelves in the stock room?”
“Because Ron phoned in sick, and I don’t have an additional person to pull off the line…” I’d explain.
And he’d scream:
“Don’t make an excuse for me!”
My boss was a jerk, but I learned that the distinction between reasons and excuses is razor-thin.
Something wasn’t quite right for a reason, but that’s not an excuse.
You need to know how the problem will be fixed or avoided in the future.
4. Alignment — The Promise Doesn’t Match Expectations
We don’t have complete control over a customer’s expectations.
And it’s always evolving.
One of the reasons we advocate a Brand Promise Audit is that it allows everyone to see what is being promised vs. what is happening at each point of encounter.
Is it true that your brand promise includes the phrase “Our customer service is the best”?
Thoughtful messaging is important for influencing client expectations, but it isn’t always effective.
Even so, it’s far better to set expectations for the things you can control and be informed about the ones you can’t (e.g., bad weather may delay shipping arrival time).
Throughout the customer journey, encourage and support dialogue with your consumers.
Learn what people anticipate or expect — whether realistic or not — to help you enhance and grow your messaging.
5. Avoidance – Customers aren’t interested.
“One dissatisfied customer will tell ten others,” goes the ancient proverb.
Unless they broadcast it on social media, it is probably still the case.
In that instance, 10 may require an exponent.
The central message is more relevant than ever.
The issue is that dissatisfied consumers are sharing the incorrect story with the wrong people.
The individual or persons inside an organization who may benefit from a bad customer experience are not on the list of recipients.
Brands must adopt the posture of accepting criticism and communicate this clearly:
Please let us know if you are satisfied with our service.
Please notify us if you are dissatisfied with our service.
We’ve got thick skin, so we’ll be OK!
We don’t improve as a result of compliments; we improve as a result of criticism!
need to hear from you the more dissatisfied you are!
Put that sort of content on every touchpoint where your consumer may be dissatisfied with the current stage of the customer experience.
You must make it as painless, frictionless, and simple as possible for customers to criticize you.
If that fails, they just vanish without a trace, and you’ll never know what occurred or why.
Examine your company and see if any of these five fatal faults are contributing to the mismatch between what your brand feels your CX is and what it is.
Find out if you don’t know.
This is a clear example of a solution costing less than the issue.