Customer Service Gap in SaaS: What Is It & How To Conduct an Analysis To Close the Customer Gap?
What is a customer service gap and how do you close it?
If you’re looking for a customer service gap definition, you are at the right place.
We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide on this topic so that you will find all answers at once:
- what the customer service gap stands for
- 5 common gaps in customer expectations and service delivery
- how to detect customer service gaps and measure user sentiment
- 5 strategies for closing the customer gap
Lean back and enjoy your reading!
- The customer service gap is the difference between what your customers expect from your product and the actual service they get.
- Customer expectations are beliefs and thoughts about a product or a service before accessing and testing it out.
- Customer perceptions are the opinions customers form after interacting with your product and understanding its core value.
- To determine your customer gap score, subtract the perception score from the expectation score.
- The customer gap model consists of the knowledge gap, the communication gap, the customer gap, the policy gap, and the delivery one.
- To conduct a customer service gap analysis, use these 6 steps:
1. Segment customers to form a better understanding of users’ needs to enhance customer service.
2. Document the customer journey with all touchpoints to see the pitfalls users are encountering.
3. Monitor in-app user behavior and track feature usage to detect common user behavioral patterns and address pain points.
4. Conduct “Voice of the customer” interviews to understand clearly what they want.
5. Use microsurveys to collect user feedback and uncover improvement areas of the product.
6. Analyze all customer data you gathered, find friction points and take action!
- Use Userpilot features such as the welcome screen builder, product usage tracking, the NPS survey builder, and more to detect and close the customer gap. All of this is code-free.
What is the customer service gap?
A customer service gap is the difference between what customers expect from your company or product, and the actual service they get. Remember the meme about expectations vs. reality? This perfectly describes the nature of the customer service gap.
Let’s break it down.
Customer expectation is what the customer believes and thinks about a product or service before accessing and testing it. In general, expectations are usually set by marketing messages on the website, the buzz around the company, and customer stories.
Essentially, it’s what your customers think after interacting with your products and understanding their core benefits.
Customers reach this phase when they sign up for a free trial, complete the onboarding process, or engage with a core feature. By doing these, they can determine if the product fulfills their requirements or if it is exactly what they expected.
When customer expectations are not fulfilled, users are likely to churn.
How to calculate the customer service gap?
Every time we get a subscription cancellation, we’re prone to think that we could have done things differently to retain that customer. But could we?
There’s an easy way to find the answer—through customer gap analysis.
A negative gap indicates that the actual service is less than expected, and it’s a highlighted area for improvement.
SWOT analysis vs. customer service gap analysis
Though both analyses can be applied to determine gaps that a business experiences, there is a strong distinction and aim for each.
You should go for SWOT analysis when you want to evaluate a company’s performance against its competitors, explore new initiatives, or consider altering your strategic plan.
In short, a SWOT analysis will help you determine your strength and weaknesses and compare it against your opportunities and threats.
Meanwhile, a service gap analysis is designed to prove/disprove the existence of weak spots in more specific areas, such as in-app guidance, marketing communications, and customer service. Let’s break them down below!
What are the 5 gaps in the customer service model?
The service quality gap model in SaaS relies on the five pillars—the knowledge gap, the communication gap, the policy gap, the delivery gap, and the customer gap.
Let’s learn what triggers each and what it looks like.
The knowledge gap
The knowledge gap is the distinction between the customer’s expectations and the company’s perception of users’ needs. It occurs due to several reasons:
- lack of proper market research;
- insufficient communication between the company and the clients.
SaaS companies often develop their products without listening to their customers’ needs or problems, instead relying on what they believe will be useful to them.
This results in high churn and business stagnation.
The policy gap
You can face the policy gap if a product doesn’t meet customer expectations, although the management understands the customers.
The reason behind this may vary. One of the possible reasons is that management cannot find common ground, and due to this, the development team doesn’t deliver the expected results.
As a result of such gaps, poor customer service occurs, quality checks are not conducted on time, and service level standards are not updated.
The delivery gap
The delivery gap stands for poor customer service quality or lack of in-app guidance. This occurs when customer support/success specialists lack knowledge, motivation, or proper niche qualifications to assist customers and resolve their requests.
This means you are lacking customer support SOPs, in-app onboarding, or guidance so new customers get confused so easily.
The delivery gap directly impacts customer perception and loyalty.
Poor service=major satisfaction gaps=high churn=low revenue.
The communication gap
The communication gap happens when your marketing messages attract lots of new customers and make them excited. But on the flip side, the company doesn’t deliver what was promised and fails to meet customers’ expectations.
Result in both cases? Customer dissatisfaction, negative reviews, and customer aversion.
The customer gap
Lastly, it occurs due to the distinction between customers’ expectations and customers’ perceptions and enlists four other gaps mentioned above.
Put it simply, the customer gap happens when customers don’t understand what the product has to offer or misinterpret the service quality. Every company should conduct a gap analysis from time to time, identify gaps, and take steps to close them.
How to conduct a customer service gap analysis in 6 steps?
Here, we’ve outlined the six essential steps of a customer service gap analysis and what you need to do to close the gaps.
Let’s take a closer look at these 6 steps.
Segment customers to understand their needs better
Customer segmentation will allow you to better understand users and their needs to enhance customer service.
The best practice for SaaS companies is to implement welcome screens with microsurveys and segment customers in the welcome, or sign-up flow. Thus, you will be gathering invaluable info on your customer expectations to tailor the onboarding flow (and prioritize product tweaks) accordingly.
Here is an example of Postfity. The famous social media scheduling tool uses a welcome screen to greet users and capture customer info.
Document the customer journey with all touchpoints
It is important to map out the entire customer journey so that you can determine whether or not your users show regular product usage, what obstacles they are facing, and how to address them.
The customer journey for SaaS companies consists of several stages: converting from visitors to trial users, reaching the “Aha” moment, user activation, and then complete adoption.
Map out and analyze each to unlock product growth opportunities.
Monitor in-app user behavior and track feature usage
Monitor what customers are doing in-app, what features they are using, what they like/dislike, etc. Doing so will allow you to detect common user behavioral patterns so you can eliminate friction points.
There may be features users ignore and do not interact with, and vice versa, the most likable ones. When you own such data, you can create actionable walkthroughs to navigate users to valuable features, drive product adoption, and level up customer satisfaction.
With Userpilot, you can track feature engagement without a single code of line. Simply tag any feature using your product’s UI and track feature engagement without setting custom events.
Conduct “Voice of the customer” interviews to understand what they want
“Voice of the Customers” stands for the process of collecting feedback and user sentiment on your customer’s experience with your product on a very granular level.
A VoC interview will give you answers to questions like:
- What are users trying to achieve by using your product?
- What blocks users from achieving their goals?
- What are users expecting your product to do?
- What do users like/dislike about your product?
In a nutshell, the Voice of the Customer helps you build better relationships with your customers, which helps you improve your product. Try to conduct such kinds of interviews regularly and collect invaluable insights.
Use microsurveys to collect feedback and uncover improvement areas
In-app microsurveys are a great way to collect user feedback and understand customer satisfaction. You can leverage quantitative and qualitative data from different types of microsurveys that are triggered throughout the user journey: Microsurveys will help you:
- help customer success teams understand where users struggle
- offer better customer support
- improve your product’s features and usability
For example, pop up a microsurvey once users have engaged with a new feature and find out how they feel regarding their product experience. Here you can look at Slack’s microsurvey. The popular communication and collaboration platform asks for customer feedback and also adds an open-ended question to collect key insights.
Identify service gaps and create an actionable plan to close the gap
Listening to your customers on an ongoing basis is the best way to spot user sentiment fluctuations.
Create a list of high-priority service gaps based on the data you’ve collected from the steps above.
The final step will be creating an actionable plan to fix the issues and ultimately close the gap.
How can Userpilot help you close the customer gap?
Userpilot is a product growth tool that combines a chunk of features for measuring customer satisfaction, improving customer stickiness, and understanding users’ behavior inside your product (what they click and when through the feature tagging feature).
With Userpilot, you can also hone the onboarding flow by segmenting customers with welcome screens. Thus, you will understand your persona and tailor their journey accordingly.
Worth to mention that you can do this code-free! It’s super easy and you can be set in just a couple of minutes.
What’s more? Run a sheer amount of microsurveys—NPS surveys and customer satisfaction surveys among them. You can customize its look & feel, set events when to show a survey to the user, and play with customer segments the survey will reach.
Want to build a world-class product and deliver an unparalleled customer experience? Then conduct an analysis on a regular basis, identify gaps and try to close them.
Want to track in-app user behavior, collect customer feedback and invaluable insights, then get a Userpilot Demo to see how you can do all of this code-free.