Gap analyses are typically brutally honest.
The insights and overviews from internal and external stakeholders areinvaluable.
Identifying, isolating and analysing variables and dimensions that are ofinterest, relevance and importance to existing, prospective and past clientsare often refreshing and revealing.
They detail in stark terms the reasons why people and entities seek out, dealwith, purchase, utilise, return and become loyal to specific companies, brandnames, products, services and applications.
Furthermore, explanations are revealed and heightened of why good salesconversions, lack of responses and losses of clients, revenues and profits dooccur.
Disciplined, malleable and well-structured gap analyses ensure that there isnowhere to hide. Transparency, accountability and measurability are wellprofiled.
Assumptions, presumptions, naivety and ignorance are sidelined and made bothredundant and obsolete.
Improved productivity, efficiency and effectiveness are seemingly naturalconsequences of ongoing, scheduled gap analyses.
The philosophy and related mantra of being customer-driven are found wantingwhen customers and clients, as well as the front-line service providers areasked to nominate a discrete (often 20 factors or less) list of criteria whichare employed in the selection and buying processes.
Seldom do the two sets of responses correspond.
Individual dimensions are often worthy of extended review, analysis, possiblerefinement and adroit application. Significantly, cost is rarely ranked in thetop three factors.
The variances average between 15% and 20%. Often, they can differ in up to 50%of instances.
Prioritising those purchase criteria variables adds further to the disparitieswhich typify the perceptions and perspectives of customers and internalservice providers.
Clustering the nominated dimensions into weighted groupings of, say, five isequally revealing.
In short, and in reality, the understanding of customers, their needs, wants,values, expectations and preferences is shallow, often misleading andpotentially significantly detrimental to the wellbeing, profitability,competitiveness and relevance of service-providing businesses.
Sub-optimal performances of marketing, selling, merchandising, promotional andadvertising campaigns, and the reasons why, become apparent.
Refinements and recalibrations need not be expensive and resource-intense.
Gap analyses are like companies, products, services and brand names. Each isunique.
Informal, casual and occasional analyses count for little. Their implications,consequences and importance are far too serious.
The true value is the input and the resultant outputs. Open, unstructuredprobing of consumer and service providers’ frames-of-reference provides thecontent, context and structure of the analysis.
Process is important, but secondary and consequential.
No ideal or optimal model exists. The capabilities are typically available andaccessible, much like access to social and digital media.
In all instances, the art is in having, utilising and deploying capabilities.Understanding is, to a considerable measure, intuitive.
Gap analyses are often equated to looking at one’s self (or business) in themirror. Only on these occasions a three-dimensional reflection is received.The depth and breadth of the images are meaningful and profoundlyadvantageous.
Presenting, explaining and applying the findings distinguish the true natureof a customer-centric (if you wish, customer obsession) leader is revealedin their willingness to accept the findings, no matter how confronting andbrutal.
The efficiency, relevance and innate value of gap analyses, like artificialintelligence-generated modelling, improve with ongoing applications.Experience and expertise of practitioners are broadened and deepened.
Resultant business goal settings, performance reviews and briefings (ofinternal and external resources) are enhanced. Confidence improves, often inparallel with reductions in errors and the margins and frequencies of thoseerrors.
The life-cycle durations of gap analyses are shortening as a consequence ofthe dynamics of life, lifestyles, economic forces, technology, innovations andcreativity.
Change is inevitable. The quantum nature of that change and its rapidity arebreathtaking, exciting if you will. Ironically, the variances between thefindings of progressive gap analyses are indicative measures of change.
The process is not a waste of time. Indeed, it is an investment in therelevance, competitiveness and future of a business, product, service andapplication.
For those who embrace the concept, process, outcomes and applications, a truemeasure of the value of gap analyses is a better understanding of existing,prospective and past clients. Invaluable.
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