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Gap Analysis Has Its Place

Companies increasingly understand the importance of developing strong relationships with their customers, and they use customer feedback assessment as a tool for doing so. They are also aware that the nature of the competitive market is part of this dynamic, but often choose not to explore that when soliciting feedback. It’s true that there are often several improvements to be made even without looking beyond your own walls to the competitive landscape.  Few companies, though, can say that they have never felt the pressure of competition. 

 

Responses to questions about your company’s competitors can be insightful on their own, and that feedback can be explored even further through gap analysis. Gap analysis can be an invaluable tool for some companies, but is not for everyone. It can be more costly to supplement standard customer relationship questions with those for competitive assessment, and the resulting insights can be tricky to incorporate into the big picture that most audiences are used to seeing.  However, there are some advantages to gap analysis within the customer relationship arena:

  • If the market offers customers a variety of options…
Competition plays a major role in each company’s success.  It’s important not just to improve upon past performance, but also to out-perform the competition.  If it is easy for a customer to switch to an alternative partner/vendor, you want to ensure that your company is the most attractive option to keep current customers and acquire new.

  • If you hope to grow by “stealing” customers from your competitors…

You must understand where your company’s advantages lie.

  • If your company consistently loses customers to a competitor…

Gap analysis can highlight what performance areas might be causing that shift.

  • If your company is performing very well or very poorly across the board…

Gap analysis can help narrow focus by identifying which areas have the greatest impact on your company’s competitive position.

 

Asking your customers what they think about your competition, even if you think you already know (or maybe don’t WANT to know!), can bring your company one step closer to reaching the top of the market.

 

Cortney Lantry

Director, Marketing Sciences

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