In our “Ten Ideas” article we consider how a unique, positive customer experience is becoming a survival essential across the sectors we work with. In it, we share a customer satisfaction map that elegantly illustrates how far the average retail bank is behind the average grocer in delivering a positive customer experience. Here, we want to take the opportunity to explain more about the customer satisfaction map and how it can be used to inform the strategy of consumer businesses.
Mapping Customer Perceptions – And Acting On Them
Detailed knowledge of how customers perceive different businesses is invaluable for understanding how the competitive landscape is changing over time. Explaining who is winning and who is losing in customers’ eyes – and why – generates clear insights into where the key opportunities and threats are likely to lie. Our customer perception map is a simple but powerful tool for doing this
A premium grocer in the UK where staff are stakeholders in the business. Predominantly a supermarket format with some urban convenience stores. Targets a top-end demographic but also price matches with Tesco to appeal to more price conscious shoppers. Large focus on fresh, and uses premium own-label products as a differentiator.
Aldi Nord-owned quirky US retailer selling mostly own-label produce (~80%). Focusses on high quality at a low price but with a limited range. Targets an educated, thrifty demographic. Stores are intimately tailored to their location by managers who have a very large degree of autonomy.
Privately-owned German hard discounter prevalent in Europe and planning expansion in North America. Stresses quality and low prices through private products and a more limited product assortment.
A hyper- and supermarket banner of privately-owned German Schwarz Group. Homogenous Europe-wide formats operating an “every-day low price” strategy locally. Currently developing compact supermarkets for urban environments in response to changing shopping habits.
Detailed knowledge of how customers perceive different businesses is invaluable for understanding how the competitive landscape is changing over time. And by comparing different B2C sectors on the same map – as we’ve done with grocery and retail banking – it becomes easy to see how businesses in one sector – in this case, grocery – are doing much better on average satisfying customers.
Explaining who is winning and who is losing in customers’ eyes – and why – generates clear insights into where the key opportunities and threats are likely to lie. So for banks, this map shows how undifferentiated they are in customers’ eyes: apart from one or two leaders they are clustered together. In contrast, grocery retailers have developed unique propositions based on ‘offer’ (Waitrose) ‘value’ (Aldi) or both (Trader Joe’s).
A business which knows how favorably it is perceived relative to the competition is much better placed to improve its performance and to gain market share by designing a strategy to reposition itself relative to the competition. For example, in retail differences in ‘what you get’ can be compared to actual differences in the length of checkout queues. This type of insight allows a business to understand how increasing the number of customer-facing staff hours would improve its position, what degree of competitive advantage this would be likely to produce, and what level of sales growth it would yield.
In the long run, the health of a business relies upon satisfying customers at least as well as – and ideally better than – the competition. Those who can measure what customers really want, and are honest with themselves about how customers really perceive them, have a distinct advantage in understanding the competitive landscape. Over time, they can use this advantage to open up and maintain a gap on the competition by giving customers more of what they want, and less of what they don’t.
What Banks Can Learn from Retailers, and Vice Versa
By Nick Harrison, a partner in Oliver Wyman’s Retail and Consumer Goods practice, and Sumit Sahni, a partner in Oliver Wyman’s Strategic IT Operations practiceDOWNLOAD PDF