There is often a large gap between what company executives believe the custom experience to be and what customers actually perceive it to be. There is always going to be some gap in perception. But for many organisations there is clearly a chasm between perception and reality.
According to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, only 24% of Australian consumers believe organisations have been improving their level of customer service compared to 38% who believe that companies are spending less effort on providing better service.
Australians are amongst the unhappiest customers in the world, convinced that businesses do not care about them and find themselves disappointed by the level of customer service they receive, or rather, don’t receive. Things are improving, but companies still have much work to do to close the gap between their CX aspirations and the reality.
Reasons for the gaps
Gaps between perception and reality are due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the organisation is not continually measuring and reporting the right things in the right way from a customer centric viewpoint. This is exacerbated when an organisation is in a growth phase, i.e. focusing on customer acquisition rather than customer retention.
Added to this, the change and disruption caused by new digital technologies is constantly changing and reshaping the customer experience. A recent survey found businesses still tend to underestimate the threat from new, innovative providers. Most believe the biggest competition still remains with other traditional providers within their existing market. However, customer expectations are being set by companies that compete in completely different industries.
Surveys clearly illustrate an ongoing and continuous rise in customers’ expectations and despite the greater value Australians are placing on customer experience, many businesses don’t seem able to deliver against their needs. Customers are constantly measuring the experiencse they have with organisations, comparing the best experiences they have had and penalising those organisations that provide a poor experience.
More importantly they quickly share information about their poor experiences with friends, family and colleagues.
Closing the gap
To minimize the gap organisations need someone at the executive level to have ownership of the customer experience, ideally a dedicated CCO (Customer Care Officer) or CXO. It’s their job to ensure the customer’s perspective is factored into everything a company does.
Collecting and assessing customer feedback data based on the right metrics is a fundamental step to improving things. Actionable insights gleaned from this data needs to be shared across the organization and used to improve processes and interactions. Collaboration at a team level and across different departments.