Unraveling Customer Science: The Paradoxes and Challenges of Meeting Expectations in a Hyperconnected World.

The Importance of Customer Science for CIOs

Customer expectations are a critical factor in the success of any business in today’s interconnected world. Failure to meet or exceed these expectations can result in significant consequences, as seen with Snapchat losing $1.3 billion in market value and US companies losing $1.6 trillion in 2016 due to poor service. The journey towards customer science is filled with paradoxes, such as the organizational paradox of not having someone in the enterprise with the authority to ensure every interaction meets or exceeds expectations, despite the common saying that “Customer is King.”

To resolve this paradox, Glenn Laverty, former president and CEO at Ricoh Canada, tied every employee’s compensation to customer experience/satisfaction metrics. This approach highlights the importance of measuring and rewarding certain behaviors to drive desired outcomes. For example, at Boeing, production throughput compensation metrics were prioritized over safety considerations, leading to unintended consequences. By aligning everyone’s compensation with customer experience metrics in a calibrated and nuanced way, businesses can achieve better results and meet customer expectations more effectively.

Claes Fornell, founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, points out another paradox in customer science: despite the vast amount of customer data collected by organizations, they seem to know less about how to satisfy their customers. To truly understand and meet customer expectations, businesses need to address this disconnect between data collection and customer satisfaction by analyzing data effectively and using it to make informed decisions that benefit both customers and the business itself.

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