Even when the leaders of organizations are convinced that they need to deliver superior customer experiences, they often fail to do so in practice. Why is this?
80% of brands surveyed in a Bain & Company study believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. However, when customers were asked about their own perceptions, only 8% of firms were found to be delivering a superior customer experience. In the increasingly competitive market today for goods and services, Customer experience has become a key differentiator and a major driver of customer loyalty and revenue growth. However, some companies excel at delivering great customer experiences, while others are clueless.
Even when the leadership of organizations is convinced that they need to deliver superior customer experiences, they often fail to do so in practice. Why is this?
80% of brands surveyed in a Bain & Company study believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. However, when customers were asked about their own perceptions, only 8% of firms were found to be delivering a superior customer experience.
Here is what some CX professionals had to say about ‘brand biases’ and creating a customer-centric culture by listening to what customers have to say. These responses are part of our CX Challenges and Actions report, which has insights from 102 Customer Experience experts on challenges, actions they took, and best practices in delivering exceptional customer experiences.
“If you want to understand customer experience better, you need to understand customers better. To understand your customer better, you need to go into a beginner's mind. Leave all preconceived perceptions about your product or company behind and let customer insights change your mind and help you to redefine your priorities."
“Companies assume they know who their customers are, what they want, and what the customer actually experiences when they interact with the company. CX based on assumptions means missing the mark.”
“The biggest challenge for many executives is that they base their understanding of the customer experience on gut instinct instead of research. Many executives say, “I would like X to happen for our customer experience because I know I would like that.” The assumption is that the executive knows exactly what the customer wants, but that’s not always the case. Instead, they should do research to allow their customers to speak for themselves. So, listen to the data, not to your gut.”
“The primary challenge is building a customer-centric view vs. what we think we know. As marketers, we need to put our own biases aside and see things through the lens of our customers. We need to steep ourselves in their needs and desires, focusing on key pain points and opportunities to delight.”
“One of the biggest challenges in companies is to truly understand what the customer needs. Not what they think they need. Many companies build their brand around what they believe is best for the customer. When they find out what the customer really wants it may then be quite different from what the customer really wants.”
“Most companies have a product focus which means that most of the communication with their customers it’s created around their products/service rather than how their offerings are able to fulfill the customers’ needs. A product focus also means that the main objective is to sell as many products/services as possible in order to make as much profit as possible. This creates a hyper-focus on short-term results which is a liability to customer centricity. Profit is a vital asset but it shouldn't be seen as the only focus at the expense of the company’s stakeholders, society, and the planet. Running a company through the lenses of revenue and sales performance erodes employee engagement and customer relationships.”
“Despite organizations ‘talking’ about the customer experience more and more over the last ten years, many still struggle to separate what they DO from what the customer actually EXPERIENCES. This represents the difference between organizational processes and the customer journey. Changing the mindset from thinking and acting in the interests of the business, to thinking and acting in the interests of the customer is easier said than done!! To become sustainably customer-centric, all organizations need to give their employees the time and ability to genuinely ‘put themselves in the customers' shoes’ so that they are able to think beyond the task.”
“Brands have a hard time seeing beyond their presumed impact versus how they are actually experienced. This is core to having a brand in the first place. Branding is the impression you create on the people that come into contact with your product or service. How does it make them feel? How does it bring them value? Most companies believe just showing up with a good product is enough. Companies need to graduate from products and services to meaningful experiences. A brand has to recognize what makes it "special" to consumers. That's when they become truly irreplaceable. You have to make a significant impact on the people who matter the most to your business - the customer. “
Closing the gap between customer expectations and the experience your brand offers is easier said than done. It requires the leadership to first of all acknowledge that there is a gap, then set aside their biases, listen to what their customers are saying, and maintain a sustained commitment at all levels of the organization to improve the customer experience and the resources, including people, technology and processes. Is your organization assuming what your customers want, or are you listening to your customers? Is your Customer Experience strategy based on valid insights from relevant data?
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