Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

Bridging the Guest Experience Gap

There’s frequently a disconnect between what customers expect and what businesses provide.

No matter which industry your business is in, your management and staff have probably put a lot of thought and effort into providing a customer or guest experience that wins and retains customers. Sometimes, however, what you think customers want isn’t lined up with what they expect for a good guest/customer experience.

As a result, customers are often frustrated and dissatisfied, according to “Experience is Everything: Here’s How to Get it Right,” a report from accounting and advisory firm PwC. The Pwc report is based on an online and in-field survey of 15,000 people from the U.S. and 11 other countries.

“Call it an experience disconnect: companies tout the latest technology or snappy design, but they haven’t focused on — or invested in — the aspects of customer experience that are the most meaningful.”

According to the PwC report, 73 percent of those surveyed said that customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions — yet less than half (49 percent) of U.S. consumers say companies provide “a good customer experience” today.

Want to help your business close the gap between what customers expect and your business provides?

Read on for more findings from the PwC report on bridging that disconnect.

The customer experience and expectation gap

The PwC report surveyed consumers across many industries, revealing a gap between what customers expect and their levels of satisfaction with what they receive, as outlined in the following table.

Industry Gap between customer satisfaction and level of importance to customer
Airlines 33 percent
Healthcare 25 percent
Pharma 22 percent
Retail 21 percent
Banking 20 percent
Investments 19 percent
Mobile/Internet 19 percent
Insurance 18 percent
Software 14 percent
Technology 13 percent
Restaurants 12 percent
Hotels 10 percent
Sports 10 percent
Media 8 percent

Bridging the customer experience gap

To help close the gap, the PwC report recommends making sure employees have and understand the information needed to best serve customers by focusing on technology and innovation, giving employees an incentive to provide exceptional customer service, providing relevant employee training and “creating an overall corporate culture of empowerment.”

“Good customer experience minimizes friction, maximizes speed and efficiency and maintains a human element, embedded within automation, AI or other technologies,” says the PwC report. “It leaves consumers feeling heard, seen and appreciated. It has a tangible impact that can be measured in dollars and cents.

“The price premiums consumers are willing to pay add up for companies who heed the call for a customer experience that goes beyond the usual and brings together the best elements of people, technology and service.”

Balancing technological offerings with the human touch is key to bridging the customer experience gap, according to the PwC report:

“Closing that gap by finding the sweet spot — where technology complements the human element of customer experience without creating new frustrations — is the opportunity right in front of you,” says the PwC report. “Along with that technology comes upskilling your workforce to teach them how to adapt and adjust to evolving customer needs and ways to connect.”