The customer knowledge gap

Opinion

02 December, 2018

The last decade alone has provided a tremendous technological enhancement of consumer goods. Everything and anything is being reshaped by the strong technological force, providing even greater overall value to consumers. However, there is a catch. Modern day consumers are required to understand and remember how to operate and engage with tens or hundreds of different products during their daily routines. A task - too big and too cognitively heavy for a trouble-free product experience.

Moreover, products have never been more complex then they are today. A decade or two back, product lines regardless of the B2B or B2C nature aimed to do one thing. One thing only with few bells and whistles. In contrary, products that are marketed today are SMART, IOT powered, driven by sensors and can provide a lot of added value benefits. It is at this conjunction of strong growth in beneficiary product offering and consumers' lack of cognitive free capital that the product experience and customer success declines rapidly.

In parallel with the above, marketers, product managers, service leaders and technical content writers are to this day focusing on providing customers with printed instructions, hard copy owners manuals, physical brochure or quick start one how-to pager to minimise the broadening knowledge gap between product abilities and customer knowledge. Based on our research, which we have documented throughout 2018 in a 3 piece article (1, 2, 3), it is clear that providing customer product experiences through a one-time medium as a printed product instruction manual is a loss giving knowledge transfer.

As evident in the graph below, an illustration of the phenomenon that we call customer knowledge gap is provided. In detail, the graph demonstrates how the returning value of printed product manuals over time is decaying while the product complexity is rapidly growing. In the widening gap between these trends customers are left stranded and without the right tools to maximise the satisfaction value of their purchase.

kn 2019 art

Our final remark to this matter is that brands and all domains within the organisation who seek to establish a bullet-proof customer product experience, from the stages of onboarding and all the way throughout the product/customer lifespan, need to pivot into long-term product education activities rather than focusing on information off-loading. It is by focusing on being present and always at hand available for customers, that the seeds for product satisfaction can be established. NOW, how this can be done is something we look forward to sharing with you in a couple of months where we will have a number of real-life cases from our invite-only beta program.