There is a disconnect between CEOs and customers. 80 per cent of CEOs think they are providing a superior experience but only 8 per cent of their customers agree, according to Ryan Smith, CEO and co-founder of Qualtrics.

At the company’s X4 conference held in Sydney last week, Smith said the gap between what you think is happening, versus what’s really happening is called the experience gap.

According to Smith, it manifests itself through high customer churn, unwanted employee attrition and product launches that fail. He said two thirds of all products are failing right now.

Smith said with the rise of the internet, smartphones and social media customers and employees can easily evaluate which companies are providing great experiences and which ones aren’t.

The problem lies within the fact that the companies are the last ones to know this is happening, he said.

“And we’re rewarding companies who provide great experiences in a disproportionate fashion.”

Smith met with the CEO of a global telecom company who told him in 2018 they hit their all of their goals but while they were all patting each other on the back they lost 25 per cent of their customer base.

“One year, that’s how fast it shifted. Because of how fast the rest of the market was moving in their industry, the old way of winning doesn’t work. It has become nothing more than just a race to the bottom. Experiences and experience is changing everything,” he said.

“When you get the experience right, you can defy gravity. And the companies that are winning on experience actually become the leaders of their category.”

Smith said if companies are not competing on experience, it is a race to the bottom.

“You’re in the disruption funnel. And I hate the word disruption. I think it’s way overused. But as consumers, which we all are first, we love disruption and it’s not just in one industry. We love it in every industry,” he adds.

Smith said if there is an experience gap, that is where the disruption happens, “If there are experience gaps in your world, you will be disrupted or things will grow in those gaps.”

“The race is on every single industry will be won by an experienced brand. And you are either intentionally racing to the top with experience, or you are unknowingly racing to the bottom.”

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