CX disconnect: What customers want versus what firms deliver

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Customer experience is becoming increasingly important for company growth and long-term success.

To understand consumer and commercial firms’ perception of customer experience (CX), Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute conducted a global survey in 2017 that polled 3,300 consumers and 600 executives from business sectors including utilities, consumer products, retail banking, retail, and internet-based services.[1] [2]

The analysis discovered a disconnect between the perceptions of consumers versus those of company executives. Feeling generally dismissed, surveyed consumers said their opinions were often ignored and their brand loyalty not rewarded.

The perception chasm was clear as nearly 75% of apparently optimistic company executives said they believed that their organizations were customer centric, while only 30% of consumers cited their satisfaction with experiences delivered by the firms.

Among the industries analyzed, the widest disparity was within the utilities sector, with a nearly 71% gap between consumer and company-executive perceptions. Utilities, along with consumer products firms (67% perception gap), seemingly have not taken an outside-in approach to critically assessing business communication from their customers’ vantage points.

Internet-based services had the most impressive survey scores when it came to consumer versus company CX perceptions, which is not surprising since the omnichannel shopping experience began in this sector. Omnichannel digital services enable a seamless experience no matter whether consumers shop online from a desktop, mobile device, or phone, or they shop in a brick-and-mortar store. Retail banking, also known for omnichannel experience efforts, came in second after internet services.

Did location have an impact on the alignment between consumers and business executives? The survey found companies in the United States and the United Kingdom to be furthest from delivering the type of custom-centric experience consumers most sought.

However, Asia-Pacific businesses were rated higher by consumers than by their executives, which might highlight the developing nature of these economies and the aggressive targets the companies set for themselves.

Disconnect over NPS®

Net Promoter Score® (NPS)[3] analysis showed a more significant divide between consumers and businesses, with close to eight out of 10 companies across all sectors earning a negative NPS rating from their customers.

The utilities sector, as seen in the consumer/firm customer-centricity perception poll, rated the most negative NPS – at 93%, while consumer product firms rated the least negative NPS – at 71%.

More than 20% of all firms surveyed witnessed their Net Promoter Score drop within the last three years.

Consumers and those internet-services-based executives whose Net Promoter Score had increased by more than five points in last three years were somewhat aligned in terms of their perceptions about customer centricity – at 80% and 76%, respectively. In the retail banking sector, close to 56% of consumers said that they believed their bank’s NPS had increased by more than five points as compared to 88% of retail bank executives.

Consumers believe that their voices are not being heard, loyalty unrewarded

It seems like common sense that consumers would want businesses to take their opinions seriously and reward them for loyalty. However, Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute’s research found that when it came to the utilities industry, only 34% of consumers said they believed their utility provided better customer experience than the competition. Retail banking fared a bit better with about 48% of consumers saying their retail banking partners offered better CX than the competition. Across all sectors, fewer than half of consumer respondents said they believed their firms provided better customer experience than the competition.

Consumers vote with their wallets so it was no surprise that Capgemini’s analysis indicated that firms that deliver inferior customer service eventually lose about 10% of their wallet share to competitors.

The CX disconnect will no doubt become increasingly important in the days ahead as custom centricity perceptual alignment is tied more directly to company growth and long-term success.

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[1] Capgemini Digital Transformation InstituteCapgemini’s in-house research center.

[2] Consumers from Australia, China, France, India, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States were polled.

[3] Net Promoter Score (NPS®) is an industry-standard metric for measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction. It is calculated as a difference between a firm’s percentage of promoters and its percentage of detractors. Promoters and detractors are ascertained based on their response to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or a colleague? https://www.netpromoter.com/know/, Net Promoter, NPS®, and the NPS®-related emoticons are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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