The Delusion Gap

Some mornings as I’m writing this I feel like I’m Chevy Chase reading the news that Generalissmo Francisco Franco is still dead because so much of what crosses my digital desk as news is just so “duh.”  When I read about the latest report out of the folks at IBM and Econsultancy called The Consumer Conversation Report I really did say “and Franco is still dead” out loud.  Here is why.

There is a huge gap between marketers’ intentions and their customers‘ satisfaction.  As the report says:

A common theme throughout this research is that brands’ belief in the strength of their customer experience doesn’t line up with their customers’ reality.

For example:

  • Only one in three consumers believe that their favorite companies understand them.
  • Of those consumers who switched consumer services in the last year, most did so for reasons companies should be able to predict and prevent.
  • Of the nearly 50% of consumers with a significant service issue in the last 12 months, only 28% say that the company dealt with it very effectively.

That’s a pretty important point.  We can’t pat ourselves on the back in business.  Our partners and customers are only ones who can do that for us and in this case they’re telling us something very different.  When 90% of the responding companies felt they were able to resolve customer conflicts in a satisfactory manner and not even 60% of customers felt the same way, there is a problem.  Let’s call it the delusion gap – the space in between our beliefs and those of our customers.  We all know that anger and frustration lie in the gap between expectations and experiences.  I’d suggest that the delusion gap is a direct corollary to that difference.

We need to use all of the data we gather to develop honest answers.  They might not be the ones we want to hear but they’re the beacons that point us to serving our constituencies better.  If two-thirds of those groups believe we don’t understand them and we believe otherwise, someone is delusional.  You?

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