Have you seen the 5 charts that show just how out of touch brands are with customers yet? If you haven't, the insights that Shareen Pathak and IBM have pulled together should surprise you. My personal favorite was the question, "How satisfied are you with your ability to resolve customer conflicts?" According to the companies who participated in the study, 60% answered in the affirmative: either "Somewhat Satisfied" (52%) or "Neutral" (8%).

But ask the customers of those same companies, and you get an entirely different answer, with 24% answering "Very Ineffectively" and 17% answering "Somewhat Ineffectively."

"About 42 percent of consumers had a conflict with a company in the past year," according to Digiday. "How that company dealt with the issue had an effect: Among the people who thought the brand dealt with the conflict very ineffectively, only 13 percent shop at the same levels they used to."

And that's just the beginning. These charts go on to illustrate just how disconnected companies are from their consumers. Despite reams of Big Data and access to all sorts of third party research, the disconnect between what a company believes it knows about its customers and the reality as told by its actual customers is staggering. "Most customers [63%] don't feel understood" as another chart illustrates.

This study should serve as a wake-up call and a rallying cry for customer service teams and call centers who are on the front lines of most companies. Before you assume that your organization understands your customers, are providing a superior customer service experience, and delivering relevant communication, please spend some time with the 5 charts that show just how out of touch brands are with customers. This is not a small margin of error, but a nearly polar opposite view illustrating the company's perception and the customer's reality when interacting with that company.

It's time to slow down and do some active listening. If your company is disconnected from the reality of how your customers perceive your business, it's time to take massive action and correct course. For more on this subject, I recommend Bryan Gissner's article, "The Great Digital Divide Between Marketing and Consumers."

It turns out that this study by IBM and Digiday is just one of many recently published and illustrating just how disconnected companies have become between what they believe they are doing to attract and retain their customers and how their customers actually feel about them.

If you're finding that it's harder to increase your revenue and grow your business, perhaps it's a good time to speak with your team and your customers to determine what's really going on. As these studies indicate, we may be more out of touch with the very customers we are working to service than we might have previously thought. The good news is that it's not too late to turn this around. Rather than continuing down the road with a "business as usual" approach, perhaps it's time to take massive action and correct course.

Published on: Apr 8, 2015
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