The customer experience gap is the gap between what customers want and what companies actually offer them. As a customer, I’ve often received services that failed to meet my expectations. I therefore felt very frustrated and am unlikely to buy any product or service from these companies again because of the unpleasant experience I had.
If a company wants to maintain a good customer retention rate, it is extremely important to eliminate the customer experience gap as much as possible. However, there are various ways for companies to follow to bridge this gap. Let’s hear out some tips shared by the industry leaders and professionals from the CXBuzz network on how companies can eliminate the customer experience gap.
Understand Your Customer
When I was in high school, my teacher always told me to do the research before writing an essay. A company also needs to fully understand their customers in order to provide good customer experiences and bridge the gap. I learned about strategies for creating customer value from Mike Kendall, managing director at The Customer Lab, and Teresa Allen, owner of Common Sense Solutions.
Kendall said “Delight Stool” is a key strategy for creating customer values. Here are a few elements of the three legs to consider:
“I mentioned the “Delight Stool” as a key strategy for creating customer value. Here are a few elements of the three legs to consider:”
Leg 1 – Customer-Centered Design:
- Deeply understand your customer, their problems/pains, and how well your solution(s) addresses their needs.
- Get empathy for your customer’s situation, run rapid experiments to test if your hypothesized solutions solve the pain, and use the evidence from those experiments to make decisions about pivoting, persevering, iterating, or stopping together.
Leg 2 – Customer-Centered Delivery:
- Deploy & Analyze. Ensure your experience is designed from end-to-end, define key loyalty drivers, and understand those drivers’ economics.
- Manage. Set goals for customer loyalty, establish end-to-end experience ownership and create operating mechanisms to plan and confirm that the teams understand what is most important for customers, how well they are delivering it, and establishing and reviewing priorities for improvement.
- Improve & Innovate. Conduct those regular experience reviews, leverage your customer listening system, and close the loop both for individual experience failures and larger systemic issues.
Leg 3 – Customer-Centered Culture:
- Establish and reinforce a noble, inspirational, and aspirational purpose for your company and your products/services. Create a compelling case for serving others that attracts, motivates, and retains top talent.
- Agree upon shared values and behaviors that help your team drive toward the noble purpose.
- Articulate the specific behaviors that lead toward high-performing teams and success. Ensure you have systems, structures, rewards, compensation, and norms established that support the behaviors.
Allen mentioned another key strategy for an organization to eliminate the CX gap.
“You cannot have silos operating outside of a CX framework that is a key strategy of the organization. Also, CX needs to have a seat at the executive table so that every high level decision keeps the customer at the forefront.”
Improve Internal Training and Standard
Not a single issue can be achieved by one person. Therefore, if the leader of an organization wants to strive their organization to eliminate the gap. John Tschohl, president at the Service Quality Institute, agreed training is an essential step to bridge the gap.
Tschohl shared his experience that helps his company succeed:
“Operate 24/7 with live people. Answer the calls with humans 24/7. Get rid of voice mail. Train all employees with something new and fresh every 4 months forever. Terminate non-performing employees.”
David Sunderland, vice president CX and Operations at Aurea Software, shared that companies should always take customers’ opinions into consideration.
- Ensure the customer perspective is present during all decisions being made.
- Set a company standard of what data is measured and at what frequency
- Create a strategic customer set and engage them to understand how they perceive us as a business and our delivery of product and service.
- Create a Customer Health score with customer engagement playbooks for success or recovery activities, specifically calling out owners.
- Have top-down and bottom-up training and expectation setting of customer engagement.
The only way to eliminate the gap is to build a solid customer-centric strategy. Taking every customer perspective into consideration is key to bridge the gap. Only in this way can organizations meet customers’ standards every single time.
Actually, we use this kind of strategy every day. When completing an assignment, we need to review all the materials to achieve high scores. When communicating with others, we need to know in advance whether there is something taboo for them so that we could make friends with them. When hunting for jobs, we need research to show our respect to this company. Therefore, everything we do is like a “customer-centric” strategy. But the “customer” might be anything or everyone in your life.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!