Customer Science: The Paradoxical Journey towards Meeting Expectations

The Importance of Customer Science for CIOs

In today’s interconnected world, failing to meet or exceed customer expectations can have significant consequences. Examples like Snapchat losing $1.3 billion in market value due to a tweeted complaint from Kylie Jenner, and US companies losing $1.6 trillion in 2016 from customer switching due to poor service, highlight the power of customer feedback.

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.” This paradox raises questions about the roles of positions like the chief customer officer or chief experience officer in addressing this issue. Glenn Laverty, former president and CEO at Ricoh Canada, resolved this paradox by tying every employee’s compensation to customer experience/satisfaction metrics.

Measuring and rewarding certain behaviors is crucial in driving desired outcomes. For example, at Boeing, production throughput compensation metrics were prioritized over safety considerations, leading to unintended consequences. Customer science can help align everyone’s compensation with customer experience metrics in a calibrated and nuanced way.

Claes Fornell, founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, points out the data 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. This disconnect between data collection and customer satisfaction needs to be addressed in order to truly understand and meet customer expectations.

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