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Changing Customer Dynamics and the Consumption Gap

Through our interactions with customer experience (CX) professionals, our advisory group discussions and in-depth interviews, we found five business dynamics emerged to explore.

  1. Has the customer’s understanding of our products and services declined?
  2. Are customer interactions growing in complexity?
  3. Do customers spend less time using the products and services today?
  4. Do customers prefer more self-service opportunities?
  5. Are there more degrees of separation between the customer and the company?

So, what did we learn? Using a web survey, we asked respondents, “to what extent do you agree with these dynamics?” Here’s what we heard.

Not surprising, the majority indicate rising complexity and more demand for self-service opportunities. Somewhat surprising was the lower level of agreement that customers aren’t as expert and they spend less time with the product/service.

Why was this surprising?

As a part of this research, we discussed the consumption gap. The consumption gap is the difference between the product/service capability and what the customer actually uses. We discussed possible reasons why this gap exists, which led us to the idea that customers have more responsibility and are dealing with more complexity today. Because of this, they aren’t able to use the product as much as they used to use it, suggesting they are less expert today.

While complexity might be driving the consumption gap, understanding and usage of the product aren’t.

Hindsight is always 20/20. As with any research, there are always lessons learned. As it relates to this topic, one of the questions we should have included is the degree to which the audience believes there is a gap between the product capability and its actual usage. We looked at the individual pieces of our consumption gap theory, but didn’t ask specifically about the gap itself.

We’d love to hear your thoughts? Does this data surprise you? What do you think about the consumption gap?

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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1 thought on “Changing Customer Dynamics and the Consumption Gap

  1. Leslie – I agree with the findings with regard to customers’ time availability in the day to day operations of their organization leads to less time available to them to make use of the tools/information we provide them via the website. Our customers expect their provider to be the expert and to ensure they remain in compliance with what is required of them with the products we provide. More are interested in self-service options which is an attraction for the provider as well as it is for the customer. For success, technology in place needs to include repetitive prompting of the customer to ensure they take action on those items delivered or received electronically for self-service that requires customer approval, release, etc.

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