Most Think Your CX Ain’t so Grand… Want to Know Why?

You might claim you have “Superior Customer Experience” but do your clients think so?

Quoting from an article in Harvard Business Review:

“…Bain & Company’s recent survey of the customers of 362 companies. Only 8% of them described their experience as “superior,” yet 80% of the companies surveyed believe that the experience they have been providing is indeed superior.” (full article here)

So I asked the experts… “Why is that?”

Here’s what they have to say:

I think that because companies focus on acquisition over retention they believe that they’ve delivered a great experience in order to get all of these new customers in the door. In reality, they’ve done nothing to keep their existing customers, so there’s this leaky bucket effect. The percentage of customers who describe the experience as superior would be much larger if companies focused on keeping their existing customers.

Annette FranzEmployee & Customer Experience Optimization | Journey Mapping | CXPA Board Member | Author | Speaker

In many companies, the leaders are disconnected from the front line experience. It would be helpful for them to spend time with cusomer support, spending a day in the field with sales reps, etc. In other words, get connected in real-time to the customer. Another issue is that the communication from the front line to leadership is often lost or intercepted – or worse, received but handed off to another department without much thought. The best customer focused companies are connected at all levels to their customers and they have made service aprt of of their culture.

Skep HykenCustomer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

I think that is the case because most companies do not take the time to “put their customers shoes on” and experience their company from the customer’s perspective. The 8% vs 80% scenario mentioned above is an indicator that a significant gap exists in the customer’s and company’s perspective. Some companies do not take the time to determine what is important to the customer or solicit meaningful information from the customer.

Errol AllenCustomer Service Focused Operations Expert, Consultant, Speaker & Author

Here is the real answer to why we (the business/employees) feel we deliver customer service so much better than our customers perceive: we are not in our customers’ shoes. The vast majority of Customer facing employees cannot relate to their Customers. Many times they may have little in common with their Customers, they might be a different generation, quality of life, and most of all, have never been a Customer of the product or service they are selling. We do not relate to their reality. We are not and have never been them. And if you can’t relate to someone else’s situation or circumstances, it is impossible to have any kind of empathy for them. Without empathy, you lack compassion and creativity. World-class service organizations teach their employees to view things from the customer’s perspective. Remember, many employees have never been their own customer, have never needed the services and products their company provides, cannot comprehend what the customer’s mind-set is. Therefore, they do not relate well and find it difficult to empathize, be compassionate, and anticipate customer needs.

John DiJuliusAn international consultant & best selling author of two books he works with companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, PwC, Cheesecake Factory, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A & many more.

This is an issue that has been on-going for some time and similar surveys have uncovered the same results. It generally happens because business often base their view of CX on a single customer service interaction as measured by an NPS or CES score. So a customer calling a customer service person may have a really good experience and be treated very well, but when it comes to other aspects such as delivery, product quality, billing etc., their experiences are very different. This is usually due to companies not recognizing that unless they engage and involve the whole company in CX delivery that survey results such as this will be the norm. But, unless you take an outside in view and involve people from across the business in a deeper, more introspective and comprehensive view of the company, you won’t be truly able to see yourselves as others see you. This doesn’t necessarily involve huge numbers of people or massive expense, just a willingness to invest in a better future. My own experience has shown that a small employee team given accessibility, responsibility and accountability will relish the opportunity to make a difference, and a press gang approach won’t be necessary. Once you have them in place and they realize it’s not just a vanity exercise, it won’t be hard to get them to share their own experiences from their own departments and day to day experiences. They’ll tell you where the bodies are buried, probably produce a detailed map and share what words they have to say to customers or actions they take, that embarrasses them and that they would change. While these won’t be the only people to provide feedback and get the show on the road, their’s will be honest, clear and free of corporate double talk. So start advertising for volunteers now and the gap between perception and reality will begin to narrow.

Gerry Brown Saving the World from Bad Customer Service – Customer Experience Specialist, Speaker on Customer Inspired Thinking

I have actually done research on this question and presented my results at a number of conferences. The short answer is because managers are from Mars and customers are from Venus. This is not a “Failure to Communicate”, it is a failure to understand. Managers don’t know what they don’t know. And that brings us to the long answer. This is an efficiency vs. effectiveness debate (again). Managers are logical and have been trained (wrongly) to be efficient with customers. Customers are emotional. They buy products and services for how these products and services make them feel. As long as managers don’t understand that customers care more about feelings than about products, they will continue to think their experience is great. The fact is, based on their objective measures, it is. The problem is that they are measuring the wrong things. Managers need to change their objective measures into more subjective, customer based measures. This means they need to understand what emotions are critical to customers. The measures are available, it is simply that most managers don’t use them (almost 10% of managers do get it right). This isn’t just the managers fault, most business schools don’t teach them. As long as this Myopia continues, managers will have a hard time creating experiences that customers will think are great. Companies need to find a CCO (chief customer officer) who understands this and can transform the firm centric organization into a customer centric organization. It is not a lost cause, and it is well worth the search. Organizations usually say that they cannot afford to do it (focusing on the cost). I say that organizations cannot afford to not do it (focusing on the benefit).

Dr. Moshe DavidowService2Profit-Improving Your Business Performance | Customer Centricity, Service Quality+Internal, Complaint Handling Adjunct Lecturer at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Editor at Journal of Creating Value Lecturer in Marketing and Services

We believe this is because the 8% have deployed a service strategy and have implemented Standards by which to provide consistent and measurable quality service to customers. That is the differentiator.

Pat PorrasTrainer & Speaker: I train and educate participants thru engaging & highly interactive workshops – Specializing in Strategic Sales & Service.

Robbie Burns said it best: “O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!” Precious few senior leaders make an effort to actually experience what it is like to be one of their own customers. The ones that do are the 8%.

Shaun BeldingCEO The Belding Group, Best-Selling Author, Customer service expert, Acclaimed customer service keynote speaker, LinkedIn group owner “Customer Service Champions” 100K+ Members, Co-Host of the CX Success Summit

When you’re leading an organization, especially a large one, it is easy to get disconnected from the field. All too often, C-Suite leaders live in an executive bubble that leaves them disconnected from both the employees on the front lines and the customers. While big data provides incredibly powerful insights, it is no substitute for an executive rolling up his or her sleeves and listening to customer calls or spending time on the “sales floor.” Management by walking around is still the best method for broadening the executive lens.

Adam ToporekCustomer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Master Trainer | Rock your socks off presentations that are engaging, dynamic, and immediately actionable!

Because still many brands consider meeting their KPIs equal as delivering great customer experiences. That’s a mistake, though. In fact by doing so they do not take enough into account what’s really essential, i.e. customer’s perception. Let me give you an example: if a brand is able to close a conversation with just 2 replies and with a short average response time, that’s good for brand’s records. Nevertheless, if the customer was given a first unsatisfactory answer, or had to repeat the same information to a second customer service representative to get his/her issue fixed, that’s not a good customer experience for him/her. That’s where the distance between 8% and 80% lies. In a nutshell, organizations should increase their attention towards the ‘customer sentiment journey’ which means not only monitoring it, but also leveraging it within their KPIs mix.

Paolo Fabrizio ✔ Social Customer Service I Author I Trainer I Speaker [ITA ENG SPA]

To sum it up…

I think a common thread here is to do a reality check. Learn what it’s like from both sides of the front line.  Become your own customer and sit in the seat of the front liners for a change. Most of all, listen and feel.  Then you’ll see how it really is.  ~ Abraham

Abraham Venismach

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Shep Hyken - September 27, 2017

Awesome information here, Abraham! Thanks for putting this together. Honored to be a part of your “faculty.”

    Abraham Venismach - September 27, 2017

    My pleasure! We are honored to have you!

Gangadhar Krishna - December 1, 2017

This huge 8/80% gap is because organizations don’t see their business outside-in and work inside-out. They work the other way. If they do a reality check they would realize that they are more self centered than customer centered. They need to understand that they are not in the business of banking or selling shoes but, in the business of serving customers and happen to be selling shoes or in banking. When that happens they will be in sync with customers’ perception.


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