Why do businesses think their customer service is better than it actually is?

Entrepreneurial businesses should see typical ‘66% service delivery gap’ as a golden opportunity to be exploited, says Robert Craven

Growing businesses are in a unique position to take the lead over large and more cumbersome competitors.

Twelve years of polls and surveys (the ‘Mind The Gap’ research, 2014) reveals that there is a significant gap between what companies believe they deliver, and what customers believe they receive. This is referred to as the service delivery gap.

80% of companies reported that they deliver an above-average customer experience. Yet, only 14% of the same companies believe that their clients think they received an above-average customer experience. That is a service delivery gap of 66%.

When asked, the actual clients (in a smaller dataset) supported the companies’ views about the customer’s experience: only 11% of the actual clients felt they received an above-average experience.

Something is wrong here. How can so many businesses be so wildly over-zealous about their product or service? How come so few customers are delighted? Is the reality simply that most customer experiences are pretty poor?

Rather than seeing the gap as something wrong, the more entrepreneurial businesses will see it as a golden opportunity to be exploited. The message from the research is that most businesses believe they are pretty good, but they are not.

In some senses, the solutions feel like a return to the basics of a first year Marketing 101 course. Somewhere along the way, businesses have lost the plot. The key is to design the customer journey through the eyes of the customer. The following strategies and initiatives will start to address the service delivery gap issues:

  • Get customer-centric
  • Create a clear value proposition and a clear message and voice

In the world of David and Goliath, it is the speed and size of David that can win the day. You can attack your competitors by focusing on the gap between what they believe they deliver and the reality. However, make sure that no such gap exists in your own business.

Robert Craven is an entrepreneur, businessman and author. His latest book is Grow Your Service Firm. He is managing director of The Directors’ Centre. www.directorscentre.com

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