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Strategy and Transformation

Executives are Underestimating 70% of Customer Needs

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In our work assessing clients’ Customer Experience abilities, one of the opportunities we regularly uncover is a lack of alignment among management and leadership. This can be jarring for some executives, but there are some quick ways to resolve those gaps, and sometimes the awareness alone is enough to get on track. But when executives and customers don’t see eye-to-eye, you have the ingredients for serious problems that may need some deeper thinking. A recent survey of 7,100 consumers by the Consumer Goods Forum and KPMG gives us a good idea of how consumers and executives align. Interesting survey, but what we found more interesting is in the differences between their responses.

Executives underestimated 7 out of 10 customer needs.
Just glancing at the chart, the disconnect is obvious but still surprising. Surprising because of breadth of it, but also because it’s an average of 24 points off. Consumer brands need to do a lot more than sketch a few journey maps to get this on track.
Omni-channel is still catching up. The largest gap (36%) is in customers wanting more options for picking up/returning products. Customer demands for visibility, speed, and convenience are not slowing down, and retailers need to keep up the pressure on their distribution and fulfillment networks.
Digital first (second and third). The next largest gap (34%) is in using online shopping to find the best price and value. There is no question that consumers everywhere are using their devices and consuming all kinds of digital sources to guide their entire shopping experience. This is a tough one for store-based retailers who still think of digital as that 10% of commerce checkouts. It’s much, much more.
More content, please! The third largest gap (32%)  is the demand for detailed and transparent product information. We know that shoppers spend an inordinate amount of time searching, researching, and evaluating all kinds of sources long before they buy. Content is much more than a picture and a price, and the more tools and information that brands can use to get and keep their customers’ attention and build their trust, the better.
Trust. On a more positive note, executives seem to be ahead of the curve (12%) in managing brand trust. A surprisingly low expectation by consumers, especially in light of high profile scandals and data breaches, executives are aware that they need to work ahead to build credibility and transparency, and demonstrate shared responsibility and social values.

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Jim Hertzfeld, Principal and Chief Strategist

Jim Hertzfeld is Principal and Chief Strategist for Perficient, and works with clients to make their customers and shareholders happy through insanely great digital experiences.

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