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Managers are from Mars and Customers are from Venus

This is the title of an amazing presentation given at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management in October. This presentation aimed at explaining the 8/80 paradox, namely:

  • 80% of managers state that they give their customers a great buying experience
  • But only 8% of customers state that they get a great buying experience (Meyer & Schwager 2007)

Some background info

One of complaint handling / customer satisfaction most important researcher came to Belgium on 12 October 2015 to give a presentation at the University of Brussels. Moshe Davidow has been one of my models in the academic world for many years. Not only has he written some seminal papers on complaint handling and satisfaction, but he has also repeatedly pointed out the weaknesses of academic results in the real world. More specifically, Moshe has shown since 2003 that academic results and recommendations were not being implemented. Something was wrong with those results and no one dared tackle that problem in the academic world.

The problem

As I explained in an earlier article post-complaint satisfaction has remained unchanged since 1976. Nothing has really changed and companies are still doing the same mistakes and stick to the same bad practices. Despite all their claims it’s obvious that firms are not customer-centric. They still believe that what they do / say is what customers expect. This is definitely not the case.

The figure below sums up the chasm between firms and their customers. In short, firms want be efficient while customers expect effectiveness. Applied to to complaint handling it means the following.

Complaint handling : efficiency vs. effectiveness

Firms want efficient complaint handling : it should be the least costly as possible. As a consequence the least qualified people will work there, reading scripts and applying pre-determined recipes leaving them with no room for imagination, striving to handle as many calls as possible in the shortest possible timeframe.

Customers want complaint handling to be effective. In other words they want a solution to their problem. How can you find solutions to customers’ problem when your hands are tied and you can’t really decide on anything ? How can you satisfy complaining customers when you don’t really have the time to analyze the problem and are forced to applied one-size-fits-all solutions ?

Here’s the dilemma and it’s far from being solved.

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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