Last week, we discussed the importance of the gaps model, and how closing the gaps can help improve the service quality of your organisation. This week we will look more closely into gap 1 (not knowing what customers expect).
Recent media reports regarding the war against online shopping and retail giants such as Harvey Norman, Myer and so forth provides a perfect example of demonstrating how important it is that an organisation listens and understands what their customer wants. In this example, if Gerry Harvey spent the last two years developing an online retail strategy, instead of fighting and arguing against the rise of online shopping, things could have been very different for him, but instead his poor franchisees are stuck with the negative reputation of Gerry Harvey being seen as an old-fashioned tycoon (read our previous blog post for our take on online shopping).
So in this instance, what should Harvey Norman and other retailers do? Well first off they need to undertake research into what their current customers and future customers want – and in the technology age that we are in, this is not a difficult or pricey task to undertake, as there are many forums and social networking sites and blogs (like Vent2Me) that reveal what customers expect/want. In the example discussed above, the popularity of online shopping came about due to the fact customers will not pay a premium when they don’t think they are receiving good customer service. So in reality, Gerry Harvey and the other billionaire tycoons have perpetuated the cycle and made things worse for themselves, because they always focused on cutting costs instead of looking at ways to improve their customer service levels… so really they have no one blame but themselves. Take Myer for another example, they recently finished the majority of the renovations in their CBD store in Melbourne – but you still can’t get a level of customer of service that one would expect from such a ‘designer’ brand as they are beginning to position themselves. The lesson to be learnt here is that if your shop front looks more expensive, well then you need to upgrade your staff’s attitude and service capabilities.
The best way to gain insider research into what your employees do when you are not around is through mystery shopping, relatively inexpensive to implement, mystery shopping gives you unique insights into what your organisation fails and is good at. Vent2Me run various mystery shopping activities, contact us for a free quote!
After you have completed the market research, the most important part is to ensure you actually implement what you have learnt. Vent2Me can help facilitate workshops to determine which areas are necessary to improve your organisation and what areas can be implemented in a three or five year time period.
So there you have it, now you have enough information to stop yourself being seen as the next out-of-touch CEO or business owner.
Until next week,
Cents and Sensibility
Julia Taine, Executive Director of Vent2Me, is a marketing problem solver and mentor. A mover and a shaker, Julia sees a niche in an industry, and takes it, by making it her own. Julia started Vent2Me, because people she knew were struggling with their online presence and their digital strategies. Julia knew she could help these people, and so here she is today.