A just released customer research study, titled Customers
Say What Companies Don't Want to Hear, throws a
bucket of ice water in the face of some core business
management tenets plus a number of keystone principles
of the marketing, advertising and customer relationship
management (CRM) industries.
from the editing and selectixve hearing businesses often
invokes to avoid hearing unpleasant truths, customers
dish out an earful to companies about what they want,
what they don't want and what they ignore and
how they really make purchase decisions.
new study is co-authored by long-time research partners
Dr David J. Mangen of Mangen Research Associates and
Richard A. Lee of High-Yield Methods. Commenting on
the findings, Paul Greenberg, author of the industry
best-seller CRM at the Speed of Light: Customer Strategies
for the 21st Century, says, "Lee and Mangen
have verified and amplified with hard data the growing
perception that the new breed of customer is here to
stay and businesses need to react or risk their
very existence. Moreover, there are lessons in this
study for customers, marketers, advertising agencies
and CRM practitioners as well."
adds, "Customers Say What Companies Don't Want
To Hear proves a mission-critical strategic point.
Businesses need to rethink their logic and develop new
operating models based on customer centric behaviors
the study's key findings are:
presence of a growing gap between customer expectations
and company behaviour, which creates opportunity for
some companies and increasing risk to others.
50 years of seller's markets, buyers are taking widespread
control of buyer-seller relationships, and many companies
don't know how to respond.
a high level, a company's degree of customer focus
was the most important purchase decision factor for
customers, and by a very wide margin.
terms of specific company behaviour delivering
customer-relevant quality products, as expected, was
the most desired factor; very closely and unexpectedly
followed by companies empowering their employees.
the billions of dollars spent on brand advertising,
customers rate brand-strength as a weak influence
at best on their purchase decisions.
its increasing use by companies, customers rate online
customer service as even less of a positive influence
data along with empirical evidence point to customers
developing "group think" and a "group
mentality" capable of damaging or in extreme
cases potentially eliminating out-of-favour companies
such as Ford, GM and Northwest Airlines.
globally rate Amazon.com the most customer-centric
behaving company and Wal-Mart's the least.
to describe the potential impact of the study in real
world terms, co author of the study Lee, notes: "If
Wal-Mart's senior managers grasped the implications
of what customers say in the study, they'd stop their
initiative to add more upscale merchandise dead in its
tracks. Without doing major repair work in relations
with upscale customers before making such a move, Wal-Mart
is going to stub more than its toe."
Say What Companies Don't Want to Hear is a 151-page
report including over 70 data charts and tables plus
extensive commentary. The full-colour report, which
sells for $195, is available at www.h-ympress.com.