I have yet to come across an organisation that doesn’t talk about their commitment to the customer and the importance of their customer service experience.
Many organisations proudly show me their recent customer satisfaction survey results.
Yet despite all the surveys, the countless workshops and seminars, the thousands of books and research that has been done on improving customer service and the quality of the customer experience…
WHY are we still not receiving better customer service and having more high quality customer experiences?
Some recent research in the US has found that the root cause is the disconnect between employee and customer perceptions of what it is the customer is expecting.
The “Experience Gap Analysis (EGA) study of both employees and customers found that employees consistently overestimated their level of service performance, believing they had delivered greater value than their customers on the receiving end were willing to give them credit for.
This is a clear case of employees applying one set of criteria to judge the quality of their service and customers rating the experience based on entirely different standards.
This gap has little to do with employee attitudes or motivation levels and everything to do with a lack of clear definitions and insufficient knowledge of the customer, leaving employees to their own definitions.
Also contributing to the gap is an organisations focus. While paying lip service to the importance of the customer, the focus is clearly more on the organisation resulting in a lack of customer focus including support processes and systems geared to the delivery of high quality experiences.
Another big contributor to the problem is the persistence of some organisations to continually advertise their commitment to the customer telling them all the wonderful things they are going to do for them.
All this customer focused advertising does not actually create a better experience and today after being let down so many times doesn’t even gain attention anymore. All it does is continue to create higher expectations on the part of the customer.
Great customer experiences require an emotionally engaging performance. Processes and systems can’t do that nor can machines, only people can and in an increasingly digital based economy great people contact is becoming a real point of difference.
Let me share with you the single most important factor for business success.
It’s not your products or services
It’s not your management
It’s not your processes & systems
Its not financial rewards
It’s the choice your people make every day regarding the quality of customer experience they deliver.
Everyday your people make choices that determine the experience your customers have with your organisation.
You can’t make your people smile
You can’t make your people care
You can’t make your people go the extra mile
A quality customer experience strategy is totally focused on ensuring the choice your people make is the right one every time with every customer.
What a leader can do is provide quality leadership, a people and customers focused culture and ensure they have the right people onboard with the resources to perform.
The result a sustainable competitive advantage.
Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences, a company committed to building successful businesses through the development of high quality customer experiences and co-founder of cemNZ www.customerexperience.co.nz firstname.lastname@example.org www.customerexperiences.co.nz 027