A Customer Service Disparity

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Did you know that 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, while only 8% of their customers agree?  One would have to wonder how it is that managers could be so “off” in their ability to read this situation.
While there are many theories out there, I have settled on three I feel collectively cover all the bases.
1. Inaccurate Needs—Management, and therefore the business, is not basing decisions on the actual needs of the customers, but rather on their perceived needs. This is in large part due to the fact that it’s so much more difficult these days to “connect” with customers. They have, in essence, become moving targets.
Take Generation Y, for instance. These individuals tend to express distrust in advertising and large corporations, and do not demonstrate any brand loyalty; yet, they are the second largest demographic. Trying to nail down these individuals makes it difficult for managers to accurately identify their needs and desires.
2. Lack of Customization—Because it’s so hard to define customer needs, companies are not as readily able to offer and deliver customized solutions. In other words, the “just for you” business model has been replaced with a “one size fits all approach.” This is done in hopes that the generalized version will have something for everyone, while providing cost savings to the company, which now has only has to develop a single product option.
3. Going Against the Gut—A company’s growth strategy conflicts with customer retention. This typically happens when a company either raises prices on existing customers or is distracted from its customer relations efforts with existing clients because it’s focused on attracting new clients.
After considering these theories, it’s easy to see how a company can misunderstand customer perceptions. It’s also easy to see why customers are disappointed. They know they are missing out on the quality of services once so readily bestowed upon the customer class. And, unfortunately, this is construed simply as rudeness.
What this means for managers, is that extra effort is needed, which will be the topic of our next column. So, join us back in two weeks to uncover tips on some of the things managers should be doing to create a better customer experience and combat the Rude Nation stigma.

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About Author

Amy Day

Amy Day is the Associate Publisher and a contributing writer for Strategy Magazine. She has an MBA in Marketing Communications and Strategic Leadership from Southern Methodist University and has been on staff with Strategy for nearly a decade. She is an award-winning business executive with customer service credentials from the Disney Institute. In addition to editorial oversight, her regular beat includes business, customer service, publishing, and family/child wellness.

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