Often we find that the things that managers think matter to customers are not actually the things which do matter.

A car rental company believed that what mattered to customers was the waiting time (at an airport location). They conducted a ‘Finding Out What Matters to your Customers’ exercise and learned that what mattered most (and what was most predictive of overall satisfaction) was the cleanliness of the car and the accuracy of the bill.

Customers of car rental companies often have issues with the bill. When you study them it is easy to see why.

See, for example: Tool heads lack knowledge

The Department for Work and Pensions thinks that waiting times matter to benefits claimants. It meant local authorities had to set targets for how long people would wait to be seen. Studies of what matters to benefits claimants show they don’t mind having to wait if they know they will leave with their problem sorted.