Archive | November, 2012

Why 98.7% customer satisfaction isn’t good enough. Safelite CEO on Net Promoter.

30 Nov

It’s always good to hear CEOs talking with passion about their own business. This is a useful belt-and-braces film of  the Safelite CEO (windscreen replacements) talking at a 2012 satmetrix event about how Net Promoter has been “the catalyst for cultural transformation across the company”.

Because the film is over 50 minutes long, it’s broken up into chapters so you can browse the headings, and I’ve also produced a brief guide to its greatest hits. And, to see the videos onscreen, it’s best to press the Switch Views button:

Safelite Autoglass, Boise

(Photo credit: markhillary. via

6.30 mins

Nice summary of Safelite’s old days and old ways, a familiar world of short term focus, where cost and efficiency were paramount, and where a customer satisfaction score of 98.7% just wasn’t good enough (because as all NPS folk know, mere satisfaction is a low bar and a score like this tends to breed complacency).

8.15 mins

It’s worth noting that, as he says, this is a tough business to be in. It’s hardly Apple. It’s a low interest, low frequency, low involvement and low awareness business, like say, insurance where you’re only needed (and really tested) when things go wrong, or, most utilities. All the tougher then, given this, to create real connections with customers, and as he says later, the positive feelings and goodwill dissipate quickly too.    

21.30 mins     

Some useful stuff here on their actual feedback-gathering process. The figures quoted here feel pretty good, which means large volumes and low survey costs. They manage to obtain 77% of email addresses from customers, email 100%, and achieve a 25% response rate.

23.10 mins

Everyone has a ’roadmap’ these days (in much the same way that everyone is on a ‘journey’) so here is Safelite’s. And, yes, it’s good see the twin pillars of people first and customer delight. Even though the cliché counter may be in overdrive here (sorry), just as for every other business on the planet, there is no business without people. Great customer experiences begin with great people experiences.  

26.10 mins

OK, If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got through the vision, the ambition and the nice words like focus, caring and talent. The real question is, how to make these words live? So here are the core competencies. Again, pretty familiar stuff at first glance and the real differentiation comes through actually meaning it and doing it. But, to me, the third and fourth points – have a passion for creating customer delight and understand the business and your role in it – are interesting, as is the fact that to help spread the word and connect the dots, they also use Net Promote to measure support staff internally.   

The next five or so minutes focuses on the How of how they train and embed the right behaviours, and then recognise and reward (clue: money).

Results section to 46 mins

Show me the money! As he says earlier, adopting Net Promoter does require faith and in particular, trusting that if you do the right thing by the customer, the results will follow. A 12 point increase over 4 years, to 85% NPS is impressive in anyone’s book. He then goes on to outline the financial impact. Making the connection between happy customers and the bottom line is tough, and it takes time too. But it’s the Holy Grail when it comes to getting the whole business aligned behind the Net Promoter discipline. Once you have it, it’s priceless because then everyone – the finance team, the CEO and the customer-facing folk – are all talking what is essentially the same language. This CEO clearly feels it’s working for him.    

51 mins

Let’s end on some great closing words. The key to achieving customer centricity lies in how you think, whether you think internally, starting with systems and processes, or whether you start with the customer, and think externally.  


Power to the people (and those companies that embrace this). Ten 2013 consumer trends

29 Nov
Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting f...

(Photo : Anirudh Koul)

Wacky names, thought-provoking stuff. Here are ten key consumer trends for 2013 from trendwatching,com. Some good insights and signals in here on how the power game between consumer and company might be played out in future.

 ‘ PRESUMERS’ is about people seeking active engagement and participation with the company, getting involved in co-production before launch. Why? Because they connect, they are extreme advocates with a connection (I love this product, I like what this company is about, I want it to succeed and make a difference).

 Hand in hand with this, then, perhaps even a pre-requisite would be ‘FULL FRONTAL’, extreme transparency to you and me. So, what might transparency 2.0 look like? Well, moving from ‘having nothing to hide’, to “pro-actively showing and proving they have nothing to hide”, supplying unambiguous and clear evidence. So, a company will have to be pretty clear then about what it wants to be famous for and it had better be something more attractive to its customers than maximising shareholder value, for example.

 Another manifestation of consumer power is ‘DATA MYNING’ where we consumers begin to trade on our own worth to the company. As the paper says, “to date, the ‘big data’ discussion has focused on the value of customer data to businesses. Now, increasingly savvy consumers will start to reverse the flow”, and seek to benefit from the value of their own data”. 

“Hiring well is the most important thing in the universe”

28 Nov
English: Company logo for Valve Corporation. E...

(credit: Wikipedia)

This is fascinating. It’s a handbook for new joiners at Valve, a successful US PC-games company that was originally posted on the web in April,unofficially. This raised all kinds of speculation along the lines of… is this for real? In response, not only did Valve confirm that it was indeed, but also posted it on its own website.

A quick dip into it will quickly reveal just why it’s so interesting. It describes – very eloquently – the culture at Valve, in other words, how things get done.

And ok, while desks with wheels may be pushing it (yes, it’s true), it contains some great insights on what drives and fuels exactly the kind of culture they seek.

Clearly, we’re a long way from the world of command and control: “When you’re an entertainment company that’s spent the last decade going out of its way to recruit the most intelligent, innovative, talented people on Earth, telling them to sit at a desk and do what they’re told obliterates 99% of their value.  We want innovators, and that means maintaining an environment where they’ll flourish”.

That means then that “hiring well is the most important thing in the universe”.  As the handbook says, “Nothing else comes close.  It’s more important that breathing.  So when you’re working on hiring – participating in an interview loop or innovating in the general area of recruiting – everything else you could be doing is stupid and should be ignored!”

Enjoy! And the visuals are great too.

Alfred Hitchcock, the subversive master of customer experience

27 Nov

This is a great piece from Wired magazine, about the Hitchcockian dark art of audience management, (what, in this case, we would call customer experience management) as practised by the master, Alfred Hitchcock, the subject of a new film about the making of Psycho, soon to hit the screens.

Hitchcock, the auteur-director was as obsessive about stage-managing the film’s exhibition and reception, as he was about pre-planning every detail of production (he was 

Psycho (film)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

famous for story-boarding almost every shot in advance so that he had already ‘seen’ the film before it was filmed).

 This article gives some great insights into how he crafted the audience’s viewing experience of Psycho, to create the ultimate ‘customer experience’, a terrified audience (and, hopefully, wet seats, an early ‘success measure’ he used in the theatres!)

  So, without ‘spoiling’ the story – click here to read  – the first point “Spoiler Paranoia” is a great example of just how far he was prepared to go to ensure that the audience was (literally) in the dark about what they were about to see.

As well as recognising the marketing and sales potential of word of mouth, he was also a master in the art of managing expectations, and the well-timed publicity stunt. As the article says, he produced  a “Manual for Theatre Goers” warning about the dangers of heart attacks that might occur while watching his film” and hired nurses to be on hand at some cinemas.

 I’ve read some of this guidance material before. He also asks that no one be admitted after the film had started, and also that people watch the entire film, through to the end.  

 All good examples of holistic customer experience: here is a director managing every single detail, right down to how to watch the film, in order to maximise audience enjoyment. And proof too that ‘the devil is in the detail’ when it comes to the art of customer experience management. Probably a phrase Hitchcock would personally have approved of too.


Making unhappy customers happy : it’s not rocket science. BUPA and Net Promoter.

26 Nov

Bupa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A great reminder from BUPA International (medical insurer) that Net Promoter should be about much more than simply ‘market research’. It’s about taking action and fixing things for unhappy customers, day in day out, as this short film demonstrates.

It’s interesting too to hear about how this process challenges conventional metrics, and always nice to hear someone say it’s not rocket science. This is a phrase I probably use far too much, but that’s because it’s true. Most of this is just good old fashioned common sense, and yet that doesn’t make it easy to do, and it is especially hard to do consistently, and weave a discipline like this into the rhythm of business as usual. Enjoy the film.


General Motors seeks customer zealotry, with new bonus scheme

26 Nov
English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. S...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This, from Automotive News in June, is another interesting sign of the times. The North America GM president has launched a new compensation structure that connects all staff bonuses to customer loyalty, in other words people coming back and buying more cars. This is a significant change from the days of old; as a dealership owner says in the article:  “Five years ago….if I were to call my zone manager, all he’d try to do is sell me something I didn’t need.”

There are a couple of interesting cultural insights in the article, about the organizational and cultural challenges that feel pretty much par for the course for many large long – established companies.

For example, there’s the dreaded silo’d and functional thinking, which resulted in the ‘everything is green syndrome’ nicely described in the article: “In the past, divisional barriers meant that even if employees in one area were hitting their targets it often did not translate into success for GM. “Everybody had their own metrics, which somehow were all green,” or positive, Reuss says of the old GM. “But, weirdly, when we added it up, it was pretty red.””  

So, the challenge is for people to look beyond the narrow scope of their job descriptions and keep their ultimate focus on the customer, and to recognise that, as far as the customer is concerned, it only works when it all works, hence the new bonus package.



Employee engagement is not an event

24 Nov

Whilst employee engagement is everybody’s hot topic (witness the “employees are our greatest assets” platitudes common to many an Annual Report), it doesn’t seem to happen that much in the real world.  

But it’s not rocket science, is it?

This is a nice post by Shawn Murphy of switch and shift in the teamster blog that is hugely quotable. I can’t help smiling (and grimacing) at his description of the annual employee survey process: “Each year or every other year an employee engagement survey is delivered via email to all employees. Its arrival is trumpeted by an email from the CEO explaining the survey’s importance. This is the event. It’s followed by survey results disseminated to managers and some messaging shared with employees. End of event. Now go about your work”.

The bottom line? Engagement is a leadership act. Not a management task, and nor will it thrive when it’s handled like an event, a tick-the-box exercise.

Click here to read the post. Role of Meaning-Makers in Employee Engagement | Switch and Shift.

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