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5 Ways You Can Meet Customer Expectations and Close the Gap

5 Ways You Can Meet Customer Expectations and Close the Gap Image

Eighty percent of people believe their company already delivers top customer service.

The unfortunate truth is that only a mere eight percent of customers will say the same.

This statistic illustrates a huge gap between what companies perceive to be great customer support and what they are actually able to deliver. This discrepancy in perceived customer success is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face today.

When what the customer receives doesn’t measure up to what they expected to get from you, it can lead to reduced sales and a bad reputation. It may reflect on the quality of your product or highlight poor service from your team. Either way, it shows that your brand cares very little about your customers. And who really wants to do business with a company that gives little to no thought about its customers?

Improving customer satisfaction ultimately hinges on a company being able to close the gap between what customers expect and what a company actually provides. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Listen to your customers

Implementing a customer feedback survey that covers questions about your services, products, employees, return or delivery policies and even website usability is critical to understanding what you can do to improve your service. You may think that you have the customer experience nailed, but you’d be surprised at what your customers actually complain about. These concerns will also likely vary, depending on customer profiles and demographics.

Quite simply, customer expectations are a constant moving target. As much as you’d like to dictate what your customers should expect from you, they will likely have something different in mind. Customer feedback helps you identify points of friction in your customer journey and therefore anticipate and manage customer expectations more efficiently.

2. Find out what your team knows

The best customer support will ultimately depend on how well your frontline team members are able to deliver support to your customers. Therefore, it’s important to find out if your own employees are aware of what’s expected of them throughout the entire customer support journey. This will help you see if everyone in your team understands the intent behind each stage of the customer experience and is aware of their assigned responsibilities.

3. Experience the customer journey firsthand

If possible, try to experience your brand’s customer support journey firsthand. This often serves as a big eye-opener for business owners as it an authentic opportunity to identify possible problems in your current processes. It can also show you how your own customer journey stacks up against your competition.

4. Implement changes in your business that will narrow the gap

The whole point of identifying these gaps is to enable you to make changes in your existing process and take actionable steps to address them. For example, if your customers say that they are dissatisfied with your customer service, you can proactively address it by adding more training sessions for your support team. This way your team can get a better understanding of your product/service and, in turn, assist your customers more effectively. Providing team members with support tools designed to make customer service more efficient will ultimately help them better meet customer expectations.

5. Understand that it’s an ongoing process

Learning, understanding and implementing changes to close the gap between the level of support customers expect and what they actually receive can improve your customers’ satisfaction. But know that this is an ongoing process. As a business, you have to understand that this isn’t a one-time thing. Customer needs evolve and the systems and tools that are in place to help bridge the gap have to be reviewed regularly to make sure that they are able to keep up.

With the high level of competition in today’s marketplace, customers who feel that your service falls short of their expectations will take their business elsewhere. You will likely never hear about why a customer left either since only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers usually complain. So, only listening to your customers may not be enough as it can still leave your business falling short of customer expectations. That is why all of these tips are critical to retaining customers and ensuring your business’ long term success.