The Deadly Customer Service Gaps - Renascent Consulting

The Deadly Customer Service Gaps

Two people can look at this image and see two different pictures due to their perception of the world.  Some people see an old woman, while other sees the young girl.  You may have a clear vision of your business, however if you draw this picture your customers may be seeing something else. 

There are four gaps in the ‘Model of Service Quality’ that determine the success of your product and compromise the Customer Service Gap.  The basis of the Customer Service Gap lies in the difference between the customer’s expectations and what the company actually delivers.

Gaps within the Customer Service Gap 

  • Expectation Gap: The difference between what the customer expects and management’s perception of the customer’s expectation.
    • Management does not understand what the customer wants, and it therefore attempting to meet a need that does not exist.
      • Tip: Take a market survey of your consumers to find out what features or services are valued by them.
  • Policy Gap: The difference between management’s perception of customer expectations and the translation of those perceptions into quality specifications and designs.
    • The production of the item does not meet the standard management set. This can include design failure, lack of standardization among services, or quality problems.
      • Tip: During the planning stage, have your management team brainstorm potential flaws with the prototype or existing product.  Set contingency plans for higher or lower sales volumes, and ensure your quality standards meet the customer’s expectation.
  • Delivery Gap: The difference between specification standards of service and the actual service delivered to customers.
    • The product design may be flawless; however the employees are not adequately trained on the production or customer service standards to deliver the item.
      • Tip: Have management train your line employees to aligned the company vision with the production process.
  • Communication Gap: The difference between the service delivered to customers and the promise of the firm to customers about its service quality. 
    • Your external communications to your customers are leading them to believe something that about your product that’s not true.  Think about infomercials.  We have all been captured by the friendly salesperson telling us the set of knives being sold can cut through steel.  And even though we know the price does not match the expected greatness of the product, we order it anyways.  Sure enough when we open the knives they fail to meet our expectations – these knifes not only can’t cut steel, they can’t even cut a tomato.
      • Tip: Don’t promise things your product cannot deliver.  You created a product based on customer feedback to eliminate the expectation gap, now your marketing team just needs to highlight those unique design features to attract your ideal consumer.

Take a look at the picture from your customer’s point of view.  You can determine their opinions by giving out surveys, allowing people to leave comments, or taking a look at customer complaints.  You’ll then have all the answers, showing you which gap you need to close in order to align your vision with the customer’s perception.

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