Doing best what matters most

Nigel Forbes, Managing Partner at The Litmus Partnership explains how consumer insight allows companies to focus on the most important areas.

Understanding the needs of key stakeholders provides a clear indication of where to focus an organisations efforts. In today’s complex world of ever-changing trends and consumer needs, and nowhere is this more evident than in the world of foodservice and hospitality, it’s really important to track the opinions of key stakeholders and ensure that efforts are focused on the areas that are most important to both the organisation and the people who work in it.

Consumer research is clearly very important but too much data can also be mind-boggling. Even a short questionnaire can leave you baffled about where to focus your efforts to improve the services:

  • Do you need to extend the range of healthy choices?
  • Should you introduce a pre-order system to alleviate queuing?
  • Do you need to increase the number of plant based menu items?

You will not necessarily find the answers by concentrating on the areas where satisfaction is lowest. Measuring satisfaction alone is one dimensional. In order to make sure that you are ‘Doing Best What Matters Most’ you should analyse the gap between importance and satisfaction or ‘the satisfaction gap’. This gives you quantifiable data highlighting areas of your service that are the furthest away from meeting consumer expectation.

It is therefore essential to use a research system that identifies not only customer satisfaction levels but also the importance levels of different elements of the service. This allows completion of a gap analysis exercise. 

By using a gap analysis approach you will be able to:

  • Identify the priorities for improvement – those areas where developments in performance will produce the greatest gain in consumer satisfaction
  • Set goals for service improvement and monitor progress against a consumer satisfaction index
  • Improve financial performance through improved consumer loyalty and retention

By implementing an action plan that concentrates on the top four or five satisfaction gaps (the priorities for improvement) you will automatically increase customer satisfaction levels. This can be demonstrated by running a follow up survey a year after the initial one. A detailed Consumer Insight programme should includes fully customisable surveys, onsite support, focus group forums, and detailed reporting and analysis, leading to the completion of a prioritised action plan.

Consumer Insights can deliver much more than an ordinary survey. A tried and tested methodology will provide an accurate and robust measure of how satisfied your customers feel and a clear indication of where you need to focus your efforts to improve satisfaction. Organisations should now be looking to close the gap between importance and satisfaction by ‘doing best what matters most’ and therefore increasing the customer’s satisfaction levels.