Gap 1: Customer Expectation vs. Management Perception

Learning Objectives

  • Outline how a retailer can close the customer expectations and management perceptions gap

Gap between consumer expectation and management perception: This gap arises when the management or service provider does not correctly perceive what the customer wants or needs. For instance – hotel administrators may think guests want better food or in-house restaurant facilities, but guests may be more concerned with the responsiveness of the staff or the cleanliness of their rooms.

Factors that affect the size of the knowledge gap include:

  • Market research: Before introducing a new product or service into the market, a company must conduct market research to understand whether there would be any demand for the product, and what features should be incorporated. The better this process is conducted, the smaller the knowledge gap will be. There are methods of ensuring that customer desires are taken on board. These include comprehensive studies, gauging satisfaction after individual transactions (surveys immediately after a purchase is made), customer panels and interviews, and through customer complaints.
  • Communication channels: The fewer the layers between management and customer contact personnel, the more likely that customer preferences will be incorporated into higher-level decision making on the product.

practice questions