In a 2005 issue of the Harvard Management Update, James Allen, Barney Hamilton and Frederick F. Reichheld published the result of research by Bain & Company that said:
Eighty per cent of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, while only 8 per cent of their customers agree.
That’s quite staggering for anyone who works in the customer service industry. How can eighty per cent of companies think that they are doing a great job and creating satisfied customers yet only 8 per cent of the customers would agree that they really are?
The problem is that the company is often focused on service and the customer only ever measures experience. Customer service and customer experience can be entirely different things as these statistics show.
The most obvious example is that once a sale is made, the company ceases to be interested in that customer. They are a previous customer and should now be happy. The company focus switches to serving or acquiring new customers, but the customer may have problems, may want more information, or may want to just clarify something.
This can be difficult. Have you ever tried calling a company and finding they are not at all responsive, yet if you call the sales hotline the phone is answered immediately?
This is the difference between getting service and the complete experience right. Even after a customer has been served, they will come back and be a customer again if they feel looked after. If they feel forgotten because their money is already taken then your competition will be only too pleased to take their next order.
Photo by Shane Gorski licensed under Creative Commons