The service firm myopia you aren’t aware of

It is time to stop viewing your company through rose tinted glasses, insists Robert Craven

There is the absurd statistic that suggests most men believe that they are ‘above-average drivers’. They really believe that they are ‘above average’. Well, most of them do!  Honestly…!

Well, the ‘we are above-average’ statistic doesn’t just apply to male drivers.

A recent survey by Bain & Co reported that 80% of companies believed that they delivered a ‘superior experience’.

So, most companies assume that they are consistently giving customers what they want. Usually (in fact almost always) they are kidding themselves.

In the same survey, only 8% of the companies’ clients also believed that the companies were delivering a ‘superior experience’. I repeat, EIGHT PER CENT.

In other words, 72% of the companies think they deliver superior service but their clients do not think the same. Are you one of the 72% who have got it wrong? And how do you know that you are not one of the 72%?

This classic delivery myopia happens for several reasons: … We are too self-obsessed and fail to see the business through the customers eyes … Most growth strategies end up short-changing/compromising existing customers … Good relationships are actually very hard to build. So, how to close the gap?

The 8% of companies that do have clients who believe that they offer a superior experience are different from the rest: they do design and deliver the right propositions and they develop the resources to do it again and again. This seems like, dare I say it, stating the obvious. But clearly it is not.

For me, a key issue is their focus on (or should I say obsession with) the customer experience.

In most service firms there is a gap between: … What the firm believes the client needs/wants and what the client actually needs/wants … What the firm believes it is selling and what the client is actually buying

… What the firm believes it delivers and what the client actually receives … What the firm believes the clients thinks and says about the service and what the client actually thinks and says.

You need to sort out these gaps as they will turn from being gaps to becoming huge great canyons between you and your client.

This needs to be done now.

Robert Craven is an entrepreneur, businessman and author who has run Mastermind Groups and action-centred learning with Warwick Business School, Business Growth Programme and London’s Accelerated Growth Programme among others. His latest book is Grow Your Service Firm . He is managing director of The Directors’ Centre.

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