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Digital Teams Suffer From A Perception Gap That Hinders Customer Experience Improvement Efforts

Organizations are often fraught with gaps in perception, and many of these impact their ability to improve both the customer and employee experience.

Bain is responsible for probably the famous one. In 2005, their research found that 80% of companies they surveyed believed they delivered superior customer experience, while only 8% of their customers agreed.

Then, there was the not so famous but equally problematic one. In 2019, PwC found that 90% of C-suite executives believe their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology, but only about half (53%) of staff say the same.

Recently, another perception gap has emerged via research conducted by Heap, a digital insights platform. Their research found that while product and web teams think their digital experiences are easy-to-use, consumers disagree.

Specifically, their research found that:

  • 95% of product teams say it’s “somewhat” or “very easy” for users to navigate and use their site, 
  • But, 43% of consumers think most websites are not designed with the end-user in mind.

Digging into the experience and perspective of those product teams, they also found that:

  • 71% of them use multiple tools to provide data and insight on how users interact with their product or website, and
  • 69% of them consider these tools reliable, and they feel confident that they collect data on all user actions.

But, worryingly, Heap also found that:

  • Only 16% of the same product teams know why most (>75%) of their customers drop off their sites, 
  • Only 24% of them say that they have complete insight (75-100%) into the user journeys on their site, and 
  • Only 19% of respondents say that more than 75% of their prioritization or roadmap decisions are grounded in data.

Now, given the massive rush to digital that we have seen over the last 16 months and the need to be more agile to accommodate that shift, it’s shocking to see these numbers.

There is an obvious problem here.

Dan Robinson, CTO at Heap, believes that a big part of the problem can be attributed to the data that organizations are deciding to collect.

Specifically, Robinson believes that a large part of the problem lies with executives inserting their assumptions around what is important and not into the data collection process. In doing so, he believes, they are limiting their view of the customer and, potentially, excluding data that could include, as Robinson puts it, “game-changing” insights.

Robinson provides a fascinating perspective on how this perception gap could occur, and collecting a more complete data set will undoubtedly help organizations make better decisions and uncover more insights. It will also help teams create and see a more complete picture of the customer journey.

But, we must remember that customers are much more than their data. I would like to see digital teams spend more time talking to and observing customers about how they use products and sites. While more data and analysis will help, talking to and observing customers is likely to help bring any collected data to life. It will also help digital teams develop a better and richer understanding of their customers and the territory that they are navigating.

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