Only Genius Organizations Can See Differences in Customer Experiences
by Jim Sinur
Almost every organization publicly declares their dedication to better customer experiences, but few attain excellence. The majority of organizations (80%) think they have great customer experiences, but only a minority of their customers (8%) agree with them when they are honest.
It’s because customers and organizations have a different point of view of customer experiences. Organizations say they spend a good portion of their budgets on customer service, and because of the spend, they assume the results are automatically good. But customers who have to diligently traverse an organization’s skill silos, transactions, and systems would disagree. What is the source of this gap and what are the real differences? Read on as we examine the customer experience gap.
The Definition of the Customer Journey Is Different
Consider the car ownership experience. The customer views it as how well does the vehicle perform on various trips and how well does it perform over time? Does the vehicle meet the customer’s goals of status, operational effectiveness, economic efficiency, durability, and fun-factor?
Automotive manufacturers and auto dealers view it quite differently. They divide the experience into marketing, sales, finance, service, parts, and initial quality. Each of these micro-experiences are designed, executed, and measured to optimize each department and middle manager’s goals that lead to ratings, bonuses, promotions, and tactical advantages over the competition. There always seems to be a big gap in the definition of the journey’s success.
The Execution of the Customer Journey Is Different
The best experiences draw customers back for more. Let’s stick with the automobile industry and look at one portion of the motoring experience and dig into service: while the big outcome is that the service needs to be done right, the subtle differences are in areas such as wait time, comfort of the waiting area, food and beverages that are served, entertainment, and most importantly, the communication and visibility on the progress of your vehicle.
I would suggest that most dealers fail on communicating progress. Customers may travel further to go to the dealer that does all of these best if the dealer closest to them fails to provide an excellent experience.
The Measurement of the Results Is Different
Often, organizations pick measures that fit them best—not the client. Typically, organizations measure against their goals like customer lifetime value, customer acquisition costs, upsell and cross-sell rate, conversion rate, average order value, average revenue per customer, and worst of all, cost per interaction.
What should be measured are the goals that are focused on customer outcomes such as goal completion scores, customer effort score, customer satisfaction, net promoter and emotional scores, problem resolution time, first response time, and first contact resolution. You can see these perspectives are quite different, but smart organizations place a higher value on the customer measurements while still measuring for the organizational goals.
There are significant differences in the perception of the great customer experience between customers and organizations. Until recently, the power was with the organization, but now, the customer is in charge because digital has made switching organizations easier. The friction of leaving one organization and joining another has been significantly reduced. Most organizations will be doing things differently because of digital, so there is a real opportunity going forward for reducing the customer experience gap.