Why Your CEO and Customers Don’t See Eye to Eye on Customer Experience


April 26, 2016

Why Your CEO and Customers Don’t See Eye to Eye on Customer Experience

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This guest post is written by Jen Diaz, Program Manager at Irrevo.

Stories of outrageously amazing customer service catch a lot of attention, whether or not they’re actually true. Everyone has heard the legend of the fellow who returned a snow tire to Nordstrom, even though the story that’s passed around is missing some context. If some Home Depot employees drive four hours each way to find you a snowblower, you’d be a happy snowbird. But studies show that customers and business owners don’t always see eye-to-eye on the definition of good customer service.

Research conducted by Bain & Company found that 80% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, while only 8% of their customers agree. This huge disconnect in perception holds companies back from providing truly “wow”-worthy customer service. However, there’s one question that can close that gap…

Ask your customers “How?”

Good customer service has to be measured using customer feedback. The CEO’s perception of the service his/her company provides matters little. Stakeholders may know that their offer or experience is the best in the industry, but if customers don’t perceive it as such, the end result is dissatisfaction.

For example, Company A offers long-term customers a free product from their new line when their old one breaks, while their competitors do not. Company A’s leadership can quantify that they are going above and beyond what’s required, or even expected. In this case, leadership has made two assumptions:

  • Best in class is best for the customer
  • Free things = good customer service

Countless studies have shown that customers value service over cost. One oft-quoted statistic: 7 in 10 customers would pay more to receive better service. Company A is providing what looks like a great customer experience, but if their stakeholders included the voice of the customer in their decision-making process, they may come to a different conclusion.

What does lead to customer satisfaction? That magic question isn’t answered in the boardroom or on a blog. The voice of the customer speaks in words and phrases, not in 1-5 ratings.

  • How can we resolve your issue?
  • How can we improve our service?
  • How did we miss the chance to knock your socks off?

Traditional CSAT surveys ignore these questions, or include them as optional, once a customer has provided a 1-10 rating of their satisfaction. Without having specific answers to the How questions above, customer service teams are left to guess at what drives performance. “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience?” should never be an afterthought.

About the Author

jen-diazJen Diaz lives at the intersection of knowledge management and customer experience. As a Program Manager with Irrevo, she shares her decade of experience in the customer support industry with a team of strategists, knowledge engineers, and content creators who design and implement comprehensive knowledge ecosystems for top companies.



Image of businessman reading newspaper courtesy of StockSnap. CC0 License.

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