When it comes to purchasing decisions, consumer wants trump needs. Yet many organizations incorrectly assume what their customers want, to the detriment of all. Why? Those companies base many of their product and service decisions on the opinions of their own employees, rather than their target consumers. This latest report from IABC highlights pitfalls to avoid when connecting with target audiences, examines the marketplace from the perspective of the consumer, and provides tools to create a winning customer experience.
According to the authors of Essentials of Marketing, “a product with better features is not a higher-quality product if the features aren’t what the target market wants.”
This simple statement says a lot about the challenges organizations face when trying to deliver a meaningful customer experience. Most businesses and the leaders who lead them don’t intentionally offer products and services that consumers don’t want. Yet, according to these same authors, “80 to 90 percent of…new brands flop” (p. 231). Much of this failure can be prevented by delivering what the customer wants rather than what the organization wants the customer to want.
Many organizations make the cardinal mistake of treating customers the way they (the people in the organization) would want to be treated. Yes, it’s true, following the Golden Rule (do to others as you would have them do to you) in business isn’t always the best idea. A successful customer experience is only successful if the customer believes it is. What the customer views as successful could be, and very often is, different than what the organization’s executives, frontline employees, and even professional communicators would expect.
To deliver on a winning experience, there has to be a shift in thinking within the organization. This shift means putting the customer first, not just with words but also with actions. A research study conducted by Convergys found that while 80 percent of employees and executives said they understood what customers experienced when doing business with them, 45 percent of customers disagreed. This suggests that there is a disconnect between organizations and the consumers they serve. But it also illustrates the opportunities organizations have to improve that outcome.
This report highlights pitfalls to avoid when connecting with target audiences, examines the marketplace from the perspective of the consumer, and provides tools to create a winning customer experience. After all, it is you, the professional communicator, who will be at the helm of this transformation.