Sales & Marketing

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The Grand Canyon between you and your clients

3 Mins

There is the absurd statistic that most men believe that they are “above-average drivers”. What they’re really trying to say is that they are “above average”.

A recent survey by Bain & Co reported that 80 per cent of companies believed that they delivered a “superior experience”. 

Usually – in fact, almost always – they are kidding themselves.

In the same survey, only eight per cent of the companies’ clients agreed that they were receiving “superior experience’. I repeat, EIGHT PER CENT!

In other words, 72 per cent of the companies think they deliver superior service but their clients don’t think the same. 

Are you one of the 72 per cent who have got it wrong? And how do you know that you are not one of the 72 per cent?

This classic delivery myopia happens for several reasons: 

  1. We are too self-obsessed and fail to see the business through the customers eyes.
  2. Most growth strategies end up short-changing/compromising existing customers. 
  3. Good relationships are actually very hard to build.

So, how to close the gap?

The eight per cent of companies that do have clients who believe that they offer a superior experience are different from the rest: they do design and deliver the right propositions and they develop the resources to do it again and again. This is, dare I say it, stating the obvious. But clearly it is not.

For me, a key issue is their focus on (or should I say obsession with) the customer experience.

In most service firms there is a gap between: 

  • What the firm believes the client needs/wants and what the client actually needs/wants.
  • What the firm believes it is selling and what the client is actually buying.
  • What the firm believes it delivers and what the client actually receives.
  • What the firm believes the clients thinks and says about the service and what the client actually thinks and says.

You need to sort out these gaps as they will turn from being gaps to becoming huge great canyons between you and your client.

This needs to be done now.

Robert Craven spent five years running training and consultancy programmes for entrepreneurial businesses at Warwick Business School. He is the author of business best-sellers Kick-Start Your Business (foreword by Sir Richard Branson) and Bright Marketing. His latest book Grow Your Service Firm is due out in November. He now runs The Directors’ Centre and is described by the Financial Times as “the entrepreneurship guru”. For further information, contact Robert Craven on 01225 851044, rc@directorscentre.com.

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