If you don't know the gap…

If you don’t know the gap between what your “employees perception” and your “customers perception” you can’t make the “right changes” to build differentiation.  Let me explain.  Customers have a very vivid perception about what they want the experience to be with your company – right, wrong or indifferent – it is reality to them.  In the same way, your employees have a perception of what experience your customers want from them and that they are supposed to deliver.  Question.  Do you think these two are in alignment in your company?

Our research shows they are not in alignment – in more than 75% of the organizations today.  OK, so you are probably saying to yourself, “that seems high, especially since our company knows exactly what the customer wants and deliver it every day.”  This is the most common response to this type of question – of course we know our customers or we wouldn’t be in business.  This is where the “best companies” challenge themselves and say, “maybe we aren’t as good as we thing – let’s test it and check it out.”

Those are the companies that truly rule in the market and have the greatest competitive advantage, greatest margins, highest degree of customer loyalty and are able to dominate their competition.  You decide – which side of the fence do you want to be on in this discussion?  As a leader, take the challenge.  Challenge yourself and your company to test this on a regular basis.  And test it with someone outside the company that is objective and can get you the accurate answer.  Don’t ask your sales people to check it out for you or any other group – the answers will be biased and it will be a waste of time.

Here is your recipe to make this happen.  Determine your customer segments (based on the experiences you provide – not the products/services).  Then pick a random sample of 10 customers from each segment.  Hire an outside firm to design the right customer experience information collection process (usually interviews, focus groups, something face-to-face – NOT surveys).  Take the same questions you would ask and survey, yes I said survey, your employees (you can survey employees but not customers in this manner).  Do this in parallel, at the same time.  Collect the results and do a “gap analysis” to see how much in alignment you are or aren’t – be honest with yourself – being dishonest only exacerbates the problem.  There you have it – grass roots way to see how close you are to “truly understanding your customers.”

Take the challenge.  We do this every day for our clients and they are shocked by the results.  They can’t believe how far out of alignment they are in some areas and how close they are in others – but overall, they now understand WHY they win and WHY they lose and WHY they and leading or WHY they are following their competitors.  Let me know if you have ever done this and if so, how in alignment were you?  It will add to our existing research and will be something other readers will benefit from.  Thank you in advance for any contribution of information you make.


Blaine Millet

Customer Experiences Inc.
View Blaine Millet's profile on LinkedIn

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One Response to If you don't know the gap…
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    November 24, 2016 | 7:00 am

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