I was once called into see a new client who had a problem they wanted to discuss: "We undertook research about 18 months ago on how we could improve our customer experience. Our customers told us we needed to improve our billing. We have just spent $X million on a new billing system and it has taken months to implement. It's now been running for some time and yet our customer satisfaction scores haven't moved at all. What is the problem and can you help?"
My reply was simple. The mistake you made was believing your customers! They have deceived you. There is a big difference between what a customer says they want and what actually drives value, i.e. a return for an organization: improved customer retention, customer loyalty, Net Promoter score, etc.
In our experience this is very common and one of the key reasons businesses are not successful with their customer experience programs. They don't focus on what drives value, just on what customers say they want. For example, Disney knows that when they ask their customers what they would like to eat at a Disney theme park, people say they would like to have an option of a salad. Disney also knows people don't eat salads at theme parks, they eat hot dogs and hamburgers. There is a big difference between what customers say and do. How many people say they are worried about the environment but when they are offered eco-friendly products that are slightly more expensive than the normal products, don't buy them? What people say and do are different and it is critical to the success of a change in customer experience that you understand what drives value.
The most common mistake in implementing customer experience programs is believing your customers. It is critical that you do not just take what they say as being the correct answer. Using scientific methodologies to really get under the skin of a customer requirement will pay dividends in ensuring you are focused on the right thing.
Author: Colin Shaw Source: Retail Customer Experience