Why Are Businesses Delusional & Blind to Customers Needs?


How do we improve our customers’ experiences?

How do we improve our customers’ experiences?

Business owners are delusional about how well they are doing in delivering exceptional experiences to their customers. They create systems and processes from their experience of what makes sense to them and not from the perspective of their customers.

Entrepreneurs know what products or services they are offering but are not clear about why they are doing it and for whom?

A great experience is not the same as a great product; the experience starts long before the customer’s first purchase of the product. On average:

  • 33% of sales happen 30 days after the customer began their research
  • 70% of customers use search engines
  • The average customer visits 4.5 websites a total of 9.9 times before purchasing (2.2 to yours, 7.7 to your competitors)

A customer will engage with your brand through many different channels or touch-points between 6 to 11 times before making a decision to buy. Customers will not buy if the experience fails their expectations. Ask your customer what their best experience would look like as it is difficult to see their perspective from your angle.

I recently went to the newly opened London Aquatic Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I was very excited because although I have visited the park during and post Olympics, I had never been in the Aquatic Centre.  The pre-visit experience did not dampen my excitement and the welcoming steward on the day was friendly. It was the semi-finals Fina/NVC Diving World Series, sadly the venue was less than one quarter full. Despite this:

  • I was seated far away from the diving action and was not allowed to move to empty seats, closer to the diving boards would have created more atmosphere and better audience participation.
  • Then I was told not to rest my calf on the empty plastic seats in front. The diving boards were at right angles to the seating position and because of this and the viewing distance instead of twisting my back I was angling my whole body with my leg positioned across the seat for comfort.
  • Finally the administration announced that it was the centre policy, not to re-admit ticket holders that leave the building.

Therefore, I was forced to sit at an angle and distance and not move for 4 hours during the diving action, it was a terrible experience. As a consequence I tweeted words like #jobsworth #disappointing #poorcustomerexperience. I tweeted a picture of a child sitting on his mother’s lap and his feet on the back of an empty seat enjoying the diving and the words ‘Oh that not allowed here!’

The steward said “the management is strict and that they are told to do these things as centre policy, “The management has apparently lost sight of their purpose, why the centre exist and for whom!

Critical to Good Customer Experience:

  • The entire journey must be consistent off and online (why welcome guest and then act unwelcoming)
  • Explicitly manage expectations.

I know if I book Ryanair that I am not going to get a 5-star service I will be lucky to get 2-stars – but this what I paid for and expected.

The larger the business, the more scope there is for delusion and inconsistency between expectations and delivery.

Why would you Assess your Customers Experience and Work to Improving it?

Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan, and Conor Jones HBR research and consulting on customer journeys: found that organisations able to skilfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction.

Here are three strategies to get you out of your head and into the head of your customer:

  1. Listen and record their words and listen again.
  2. Listen out for their emotive words – Ted Rubin co-author of Return on Relationship said connecting with a customer on an emotional level increases recommendation of your business by 300%.
  3. Embed what your customer say into every aspect of your business to offer them what they want, how they want it when they want it.

In delivering great customer experience, the business must be consistent and not only manage but exceed the expectations from their customer perspective.

About the Author

Janice B Gordon is a Business Growth Expert, consultant, corporate trainer, public speaker, and president of The Problem Solver. Janice is the author of Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World, the essential business growth toolkit.

Janice is a visiting Fellow of Cranfield School of Management with over 20 years’ business experience gained working with blue chip organizations, growing SMBs, and starting and growing her businesses. Her engagements have generated over $9 million+ sales in the last 12 months. Janice creates strategic mind-set shifts, turns sales people into relationship builders, and delivers practical customer experience strategies to help businesses get incredible results.

Janice B Gordon – who has written posts on Market Leadership Journal.


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