You can create practical profiles of recurring audiences, tailor every client interaction to individual needs and do the right thing - and it's easy! Here are the 11 questions you need to answer to identify gaps.
1. Present Performance
What promises has this customer received from me in the past 12 months?
What have I delivered?
What measurable results would the customer agree have been achieved?
2. Present Expectations
What has this customer asked for?
What conditions of satisfaction did the customer negotiate and accept? (e.g. delivery dates, costs, service, support, ongoing contact)
What things do they expect but have not specifically discussed
3. Present Perceptions
What conditions of satisfaction would the customer say have been met?
What conditions of satisfaction would the customer say have not been met?
4. Customer Concerns
What strategic business concerns do you know the customer holds?
What strategic business concerns do you guess he/she holds?
5. Future Outcomes
What vision of the future has this customer described?
How is it different from his/her Present Expectations?
What complaints &/or recognition has the customer expressed (Use actual customer language.)
To what categories do they belong? (Process, Service, Cost, ROI)
Note the actions you've actually taken on the customer's behalf, compared to the results actually achieved, and the customer's perception of their value.
8. Doing the Right Thing
Describe the customer's perception of where improvement is needed in the type of service you provide.
9. Doing Things Right
Describe the customer's perception of where improvement is needed in the way you provide the service.
To what extent would the customer say there was sufficient sharing on €œhow to get things done€ between him/her and you?
What data do need, but do not have, to accurately reflect your customer's concerns and expectations?
What actions can you take to overcome gaps, but have not taken?
What has stopped you from taking these actions?
Now, based on your answers, what Gaps do you have with your customer? Good news! There are only six major Gaps: Satisfaction, Value, Doing Things Right, Doing the Right Thing, Process and Change, and you only have to pick one to act on to see real change.
Be careful, though. It's easy - and misleading - to dump everything in the "Satisfaction Gap" pot. You'll need a thoughtful discussion with your colleagues, staff and managers on where to focus your efforts.
Try to answer all the questions on a customer with whom you have issues, and comment on what you find. What's the biggest gap? Then let's talk: what could you do to take meaningful action right now to close the gap you identify?
Thanks to Alan Offstein for introducing me to this work.