Many managers or business owners have a dangerous false confidence. Specifically, there are unsure managers – and guilty of thinking they KNOW whether their customers are satisfied and happy. In a new study, the researchers at the Kelley School of Business – Indiana University, present a disconnect between managers and customers in terms of understanding what drives customer satisfaction and loyalty. Managers simply do not know if their Customers are satisfied.
In fact, senior managers at some of the top corporations in the world often fail to understand the feedback and expectations of their customers. This is despite spending millions gathering data related to customer satisfaction. This underscores data from Gartner over years ago that said whilst 95% of US businesses collect customer feedback, only 10% of those actually did anything with it!
What a waste!
For example, we have all been asked by the restaurant staff if everything is all right. We invariably answer ‘Yes‘ – when we know the food is just dire…..yet we say nothing and murmur – “It’s fine”. So the staff thinks all is OK when we know we will never return, and may even complain online. Moreover, the first the management will hear of it is the day after without having an opportunity to fix the issue for others or recover the unhappy, dissatisfied customer.
Unsure managers are a danger to the wellbeing of the business.
But Already Have Satisfaction Measurement Don’t We?
Most of the large consumer-focused firms in the study sample have customer-satisfaction monitoring and feedback systems in place and invest heavily in them. The researchers believe that managers aren’t being exposed to the customer feedback data or they aren’t understanding it accurately.
“That means that there are customer satisfaction problems that are not being solved, because managers don’t know or don’t believe that they exist. Even if they did, they try fixing the wrong things.”
Overly optimistic managers are likely to miss trouble signs when they appear. This is compounded by managers significantly underestimating the proportion of customers who have complained about the firm’s products or services in the recent past.
“For managers, the results of our study should serve as a wake-up call that all is not well with most firms’ customer satisfaction and complaint monitoring systems,” the researchers write. “Despite often being the single biggest line-item of most firms’ market research expenditures, existing customer feedback systems are not performing an effective management control role.”
So let us not be confident or arrogant or misled. Use a tool that gets immediate feedback and allows you to correct the issue and salvage the customer. Use the data, not an opinion.