Tag Archives: Customer centricity

Epic Fail – forewarned is forearmed

13 Nov

12 CX traps for your company to side-step 

Who doesn’t like a good list? Here then are some personal reflections on stuff to avoid, as you embark on CX change.

  1. Lip service leaders who talk a good game
    • shallow support and commitment from fair-weather friends
  2. No navigational North Star
    • no compelling strategy and CX vision to identify the desired on-brand experience and guide design and behaviours
  3. No hard-wiring into the business rhythm
    • CX is an aspiration only without the right governance to drive business decisions
  4. Silo’d solutions for joined-up needs
    • functional and fragmented changes that miss the customer’s bigger picture
  5. Reducing customers to numbers
    • left-brain organisations struggle to recognise customers as people, not targets or statistics
  6. Making CX a project or an initiative
    • giving CX ‘flavour of the month’ status means it will never become ‘the way we do things around here’
  7. Measurement, the corporate comfort-zone
    • obsessing about metrics, reporting and methodology, as a substitute for acting on it
  8. Not winning the crowd
    • not sharing CX stories across the organisation, and joining the dots for everyone between strategy, activity and outcomes
  9. Wanting it all, now
    • unrealistic expectations and corporate impatience resulting in a potential credibility problem for CX activity
  10. Wrong metrics drive wrong behaviours
    • internal, or operationally focused reward metrics can drive unwanted behaviours that reinforce the silos and damage customer outcomes
  11. Fail to plan, plan to fail
    • being seduced by the tools and failing to look beyond the workshops and planning for the long road ahead
  12. Ignoring your own people
    • no mechanisms to harness the great insights and ideas from within, from exactly those people who have a huge interest in their company’s success

 

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Think Small to Win Big in Customer Experience

19 Aug

20 cultural nudges for any organisation to keep it real

Words like ‘transformation’ are scary, right? And yet CEOs are always being told that ‘Customer Experience’ is ‘transformational’. Well, maybe, but we also need to get real, and recognize that customer experience is also about delivering today – a journey of a thousand steps begins with the first step and all that, so here then is my list of the smaller, more palatable steps to start that journey within the organisation.

START AT THE BEGINNING

  1. Join the dots: ensure that everyone in the organization has a deep understanding of the bigger picture, why this is important and how their own role’s contribution to the customer experience.
  2. Make the vision real: have everyone know what it means to live the brand for your customers and deliver the company’s uniquely branded experience.
  3. Follow the money: connect the cogs to understand the ROI of customer experience and how it drives the bottom line for the business.Start small, even with anecdotes and stated intentions, then track actions.

SIGNAL CHANGE THROUGH CULTURAL NUDGES 

  1. Don’t call it a project or an initiative: they suggest a here-today-gone-tomorrow mindset, an open invitation for cynics to keep their heads down and hope it all blows away like so many other initiatives.
  2. Look outside: admire and learn from the best in the world, whatever the sector, but especially not your own.
  3. Create and evangelize success stories: find, learn from, tell and celebrate stories of great customer experiences delivered.
  4. Get on the floor: get executives and leaders to spend time with and learn from the front-line via real, not stage-managed interactions, and role model new behaviours.
  5. Outlaw silo’d thinking: be alert to call out ‘back office’, ‘head office’ and functional thinking and look for ways to reinforce the mantra, It Only Works When It All Works.
  6. Get on first name terms with personas: create rich and insightful customer personas and put them in all your rooms to watch over – and challenge – decision making.
  7. Change meeting etiquette: start every meeting with a customer story, end every meeting by asking ‘what’s in it for our customers?’

 HELP YOUR PEOPLE TO WIN 

  1. Set the tone on day one: embed customer learning into new hire inductions to build customer empathy. Learning about internal processes comes later.
  2. Create internal advocates: make it easy for everyone to be advocates of the brand and – wherever possible – active users of the product.
  3. Harness employee power: find ways to make their voice heard, use their knowledge, experience, insights and energy to improve the customer experience.
  4. Recognise and reward, quickly and easily – find simple and informal ways to call out and celebrate great delivery. Hand written notes can make a huge difference.

EMBRACE CUSTOMERS

  1. Talk to customers: yes, I know. Obvious, right. Get leaders to ring lost customers, make visits and generally connect one to one with the customer. Invite them to internal conferences and generally find ways to bring them in and learn from them.
  2. Close the loop: on the other hand, don’t talk to them, unless you’re prepared to act on what you learn, and change things for the better. And never forget to them what you’ve done. Doing this can work wonders, and it creates a halo effect too.
  3. Give the benefit of the doubt: if in doubt, err on the side of the customer, and make sure your internal policies help not hinder customers.
  4. Have some respect: Change the language. Customers are people, not targets and stop asking ‘who owns the customer’? (The answer is, if anyone owns anyone these days, it’s your customers who own you.)
  5. Give to get: find small and spontaneous ways to surprise, thank and delight customers, and create positive memories and stories.
  6. Be social media savvy: recognize that great customer experiences are the best marketing there is today, so fix things super-fast.

Sorry doesn’t seem to be the hardest word any more

24 Apr

Slide1

In the good old days (for “good”, read “bad”) when a company screwed up, it was a case of wait and see who notices, deal with complaints as and when they come in, and hope that nobody goes to the press. When (or if) the spotlight was finally thrown on the miscreant, a written statement to the press would have told us that the company had learned its lesson, and that such things just cannot happen today, etc. 

Well, some things don’t change; wait and see if we get caught still seems prevalent – but what does seem to have changed is the way that companies recognise they need to be much more proactive, sincere and even ‘human’ in how they respond, and to mean it!

 Saying sorry is the new black. It’s certainly not the hardest word any more    

 Take a look then at this little collection of video apologies (or, what passes for apologies, in some cases). Some are very new, some older. Thanks are due especially to the Wall St. Journal for a 2011 article that captures some good ones (referenced at the foot of this post).    

 Eurostar

 Although it looks like it was filmed in a broom cupboard, this one scores for being timely, rough and ready and, more importantly, ‘real’. And, the compensation offer is appropriately generous! 

JetBlue Airways

Here is an apology for the logistical snafus that grounded planes and people; pretty straightforward and direct, and again reassures listeners that they will learn, but with the less than specific ‘we’re-going-to-conduct-a-review-so-we-learn’ defence. On the plus side, the choice of venue is interesting – here is the COO, a man in the nerve centre of the operations, not in an anodyne media interview suite, and with his jacket off, so maybe he’s part of the solution, rather than just the spokesman? And, like many public apologies these days (Barclays in their one page ads from last year is a good example) he reminds us that he needs to re-earn our trust.      

SSE

SSE, a UK energy provider, was fined £10.5m this month for miss-selling. Here is the Managing Director of Retail in a video entitled Sorry isn’t good enough’. And yes, he’s at pains to stress that ‘it wasn’t me’, it all happened several years ago. This seems to be a sorry tale of yet another toxic culture, where targets and incentives were designed to benefit the company concerned, at the cost of its customers.  Is he truly remorseful? You decide.

Domino’s Pizzas

For a good and ‘human’ example, look no further. Here is the CEO’s response to a stupid and disgusting prank by two (now ex-) employees in one store. The interesting thing about this video is that it tracks audience reaction to the ‘believability’ of his words. This is a man talking with sincerity, passion and anger – watch how the scores shoot up as he talks of the business “reeling” from the incident, and how it “sickened” him. And of course, extra ticks for being very specific on the actions taken.

Netflix

Two people apologising, and it’s personal, but it seems to morph into a sales pitch for the new service too. Wasn’t much liked on youtube either, but then of course, there was a lot of anger around the move that eventually prompted the apology! Check it out here

Groupon

A good one, from Groupon. Scores for a very detailed explanation for what went wrong, and it’s open and humble.

Sony

Err, what’s with the backdrop ambient music? Maybe too slick? Take a look here.  

Toyota

Again, a nice one, detailed and specific, which is good. Nice to see a freephone number throughout, too, to add to the voiceover.

BP

Enough has been said about the CEO’s “I want my life back” comment already. All I can say is, don’t bother clicking on the link in the WSJ story at the end of this post, as you get a message saying, “This video is private”! Maybe they’ve decided to move on?

What, then, makes a good apology?

From the top – we don’t want to see a PR spokesman forced to go through the motions by his or her boss. We want to see it from the boss, or if not the boss, then the person accountable for ensuring it doesn’t happen again. And we want to be convinced that he or she ‘gets it’. Let’s not forget that a good apology ought to be worth its weight in gold – commentators talk of the Domino’s apology as a classic: by showing his anger and disgust, and moving to action, the CEO repaired many bridges.  

We want to see it – Press releases, full page ads, carefully crafted letters don’t seem to cut the mustard. We want to see sincerity, humility and be convinced that lessons have been learned and that things will change.  

Be specific – we want to feel that the speaker acknowledges the real details of the problem, rather than shies away from them, or talks vaguely. Without them talking about the specifics, the nagging doubt is, do they really understand what went wrong, and what it meant for those affected?

Be timely – better to be proactive, surely, than wait till the chorus of disapproval is deafening. And especially so if the trigger for the apology is a regulatory fine, or other public censure! There, the risk is the apology is perceived as too little too late. 

Actions speak louder – we want to see that the business is taking responsibility, now, and that practical action is being taken, in order to give us some belief that the mistakes of the past cannot be repeated. ‘Root and branch reviews’, internal investigations, audit committees are not the same as actions, by the way..the fear is, they are yet more smokescreen!

 

Finally, thanks to the Wall St Journal, for a 2011 round up of 10 CEO video apologies – I’ve used a few in this post, but for the full article, and access to all 10 (well, 9 given that the BP one has been taken down) click here

Are your customers out of sight, out of mind?

11 Apr

Slide1

It’s far too easy for senior executives to be seduced by numbers, graphs, charts, red-amber-green ratings, and generally let their eyes glaze over when they hear the word, customers. Especially if you’re sitting in a conference room up on the 25th floor – customers look quite small from way up in the rarefied air of the corporosphere. 

I’m always fascinated by how companies try to get beyond the numbers on the page. This feels pretty important to me – people who forget that their customers are, well… people too, with feelings and emotions, just like them, then find it all too easy to perpetuate the language of ‘target markets’, produce ppt presentations with arrows and bullseyes in them and talk about capturing share of wallet, and ponder, in all seriousness, questions like, who owns the customer? Errm…. newsflash: I’m not sure anybody owns me, least of all a company I just happen to have chosen to do business with.

So, here then are 12 great examples of how organisations seek to remind their folk that customers are people too:

Amazon is famous for having an empty chair in executive meetings that represents the customer. Throughout the meeting, executives are reminded to include the customer in their decision making processes, and to ask, what would we do if the customer were sitting in this chair, here and now?

TUI, a leading UK based travel company went one further and for several years permanently displayed three key challenging questions on their boardroom wall – see picture. Slide1

The software provider Adobe won a Forrester Award in 2011 for its customer immersion programme (see short film) which is all about getting executives to stop thinking like boardroom automatons, and step into the customers’ shoes for a day, and build empathy.

For another example of a more interactive experience, a few years ago, CIGNA (US Healthcare) developed an Experience Room in the HQ for their people to walk through and live the customer experience. Some 80% in total went through it. It set out the ‘before and after’ for how the experience is and how it should be. It was imaginatively done, so for example, there was a scary ‘wall of paper’ that was, as intended,  overwhelming and that made the point well; imagine if it was you receiving all this paperwork, and at a vulnerable moment in your life, how would you feel? This is a powerful mechanism to force the company to think ‘horizontal end to end experience’ and not ‘vertical functional silos’. 

USAA are renowned for making their staff ‘wear their customers’ shoes’ (clearly, recruiting from the armed forces helps too). As they say “we require all of our staff to live the lives of our customers – only then can they understand their unique needs”.  So, for example, induction involves eating army rations and wearing helmets and Kevlar flak jackets. USAA calls this living customers’ lives in ‘surround sound’. If you think this is too gimmicky for you, then consider the story I heard of the lady who joined USAA many years ago during the Vietnam war – her first job was to ring up troops stationed overseas for the war. Having got the ‘job’ part of the call out of the way, she was told to stay on the line for as long as needed and simply talk to the soldiers. For many, she was a lifeline back to the ‘normal’ world, back in the US.

Office Depot, a US business-supplies chain, has a “planogram lab”, a prototype store, where it brings in customers to co-create and test new ideas. As the Economist reported, it “also uses the old trick of forcing senior managers to play the role of customers”.

Deere and company (tractors, US) invite farmers who are buying tractors to visit the factory with their families. This is a chance to cement the relationship, but also for factory line workers to meet their customers, and maybe better understand the role their products play in their customers’ lives.

Talk to the customer – yes, I know, it’s not rocket science is it? As I shared in a recent post, SouthEastern does it in person – they regularly hold “meet the manager” events at London Bridge station in the rush hour, where 10 or so senior directors gather with their clipboards, listening to their customers’ tales of commuting nightmares. Others do it over the phone. Virgin Media are strong here – resisting the temptation to just have managers passively listen to calls, and for a day only (when, let’s face it, the urge to check in with the day job will still be strong), they have every manager spend a week back on the floor, being trained up, then manning the phones and at the end of it all, reflecting back on what they’ve seen and learned.  I recall a great conference presentation from 2 years ago when David Perotta of Vodacom talked about how he ‘ambushed’ a senior management conference in South Africa by announcing that in 10 minutes each table would be joined by 10 customers, ready to talk to the executives, answer their questions and ask their own, about the products and services! As you might imagine, David said there was a fair bit of trepidation at the outset, but 45 minutes later, he couldn’t get the managers to stop talking!

Finally, my old employer, Aviva made a series of short films celebrating ‘heroic’ service. They were well made, emotional, and they had a powerful impact internally. And, interestingly, one of the principles underpinning production was that the individual who had made such a difference for the customer was reunited with the customer. Moving stuff, watch this one for example. Finally, this film, from Cleveland Clinic is also a superb example of building empathy and customer understanding.

 

Links for more information:

CIGNA source : Don’t Yield on Customer Trust, IBM White Paper, 2009 

The Economist, The Magic of Good Service

Deere and Company: How Customers can Rally your Troops, HBR June 2011, available at HBR.org

 

What do we want? When do we want it? Five real-world customer pleas from the heart

9 Jan

While companies love to talk about customer ‘relationship’ and engagement and so on, I often think this is presuming too much too soon. To get to these lofty aspirations takes time, there are no short cuts. Hence my five pleas to remind us all what customers really want.begging for chance - business woman

  1. GET THE BASICS RIGHT

Firstly, just get the basics right, please. Make it easy and painless to deal with you, and do it consistently too. SO, just do what you say you’re going to do. I really don’t want you to get this wrong. That’s not too much to ask for is it?  Get all of that right, and OK, I might do more with you, but there’s no short-cut. Get the basics right first.  

  1. EARN THE RIGHT FOR MORE OF MY BUSINESS

You seem to forget about me. In fact the only time you remember me is when you want to sell me more. That won’t make me like you any more, or help build that ‘relationship’ (odd word, by the way!) you talk about. So, if you can help me get a better deal for no extra cost, then I expect you to tell me. If you don’t, I’ll be angry. And, I do like little freebies where you give me something for nothing. I think that’s a nice gesture, and I won’t forget it.

In fact, I will happily tell my friends about something great you’ve done for me, as it makes me look good too, because it shows I chose well in choosing you! 

  1. TREAT ME LIKE AN ADULT

I’m not an idiot – I know that advertising is propaganda. So, please don’t promise me the earth, because, well, chances are you‘ll under deliver and then disappoint me. How about if you treat me like a grown up? Honesty trumps perfection, because the latter is impossible. 

And, I realise mistakes can happen every now and then; after all we’re all human. But, it’s how you deal with it that’s important to me. So, again, I want you to be honest with me, own up to the mistake, and, because you have made a mistake, go the extra mile to get me back on your side and not ruing the day I chose you.  

Finally, don’t pressure me. If I do choose to buy something from you and give you more of my business,  I want to do it when I decide and when it’s convenient for me, not when you contact me with one of your unmissable offers I’d be an idiot to ignore.

  1. STOP MAKING IT ALL SO DIFFICULT

You’re impossible to talk to. You have no idea how much effort it takes to contact you, and the hoops you make me jump through, before I finally get to talk to someone about what I want to talk about. My time is incredibly valuable to me, and yet it feels like you couldn’t care less.

And why is it that when I finally get through to someone, they often can’t help me? Why all these rules, policies, processes, systems and protocols? Why is it that the first person I speak to can’t help me? Why does such a simple request become a Kafka-esque nightmare?

Plus, you don’t seem to listen to me. When you do ask for feedback, and I take my time to give it to you, you don’t ever seem to do anything with it. Or, if you do, you certainly don’t tell me. What exactly do you do with my feedback?

  1. BE ON MY SIDE

I’m not naive. I know you have to make money, and that’s fine, but it’s how you do this that interests me. If you make a lot of money by penalising me – if I make a mistake, or forget, or don’t understand something or lose something – then that feels more like exploitation than a ‘relationship’.  I don’t want you to con me – it would be great if I could feel that you were trustworthy and on my side and gave me the benefit of the doubt from time to time. After all, I am a customer of yours, I’ve chosen to give you my money, so it’s not too much to ask for is it? 

Nine customer experience resolutions for 2013

1 Jan

According to Forrester, nearly 75% of customer experience leaders say their firms’ goal is to differentiate on the basis of customer experience. No surprises there then. Despite that heart-warming aspiration, we’re also told that only 3% of companies succeed in delivering a great experience. Talk is (very) cheap. Here then are my own pleas and provocations, including some lessons learned the hard way, for what needs to be on your New Year’s resolutions list. Start, stop, and cancel buttons on an office laser printer

USE WORDS THE CEO UNDERSTANDS

If your CEO has the emotional intelligence of a kidney bean, then good luck talking about loving and respecting the customer and pointing out that it’s the customer who ultimately pays everyone’s salaries.

Unless you are blessed with a CEO who naturally thinks customer, you will struggle to make ‘customer stuff’ more than a project or an initiative, in other words, something with an end date, until you make the connections, causation and correlation between customer (and employee) happiness and the financial bottom line.

Do that and you’ll be talking a language they’ll hear: to misquote US President Lyndon Johnson, ‘get them by the numbers and their hearts and minds will follow’.

RECOGNISE THAT THE CUSTOMER IS BIGGER THAN THE COMPANY

Someone – whether the CMO or the Chief Customer Officer – needs to fight hard for the customer and train the business to understand that great customer experiences ‘only work when it all works’ as far as the customer is concerned.

Stop the squabbling at the executive table and poring over internal efficiency metrics and look at customer outcomes, and start working together for the customer. The 2012 Temkin Group survey tells us that the top two obstacles to customer experience efforts are ‘other competing priorities’ (72% of companies) and ‘conflict across the internal organisations’ (52%).

So (and forgive the jargon) this means breaking down the silos, and using disciplines like customer journey mapping to design with intent the experience, and help business get its’ CEO: Customer Eyes On.

MAKE CUSTOMER CENTRICITY FOR LIFE NOT JUST XMAS 

Customer centricity is a tough sell internally because it should challenge short term thinking. It’s about forgoing short term profit maximisation, the kinds of things that help the balance sheet but piss off customers (what Fred Reicheld calls Bad Profits), in return for the more uncertain expectation of longer term gains, the Good Profits that come from happy customers giving you more business, sticking with you and saying nice things. So, it takes guts and courage at the top to embark on this journey and then stay the course.

  • MAKE THE CUSTOMER REAL FOR EVERYONE

As the old saying goes, if you’re not serving customers, then you’d better be serving someone who is. However, the reality is, it is far too easy for most employees to find reasons to distance themselves – literally and emotionally – from the customer. Companies need to find imaginative ways to connect the back office and head office with customer’s lives. And to do this in a way that isn’t superficial and box ticking. Half-listening in on calls once a year on a back to the floor programme, whilst catching up on emails on your blackberry won’t cut the mustard.

And, how much time does the CEO spend with customers? According to PWC*, among global CEOs, 69% wish they could spend more time meeting with customers. I hope this doesn’t just mean inviting business customers to sporting junkets. And, how many of your employees use your own products and services? How well do you harness their own experiences, good and bad, and use these to improve the experience for all customers?

Imagine if the customer was in the conference room with you, observing the decisions being taken. Would you so be so quick to agree to that new pricing plan, knowing in your heart that the real winner isn’t the customer, but the company and the distributor too?  Jeff Bezos is famous for keeping an empty meeting-room chair for the customer at amazon. For many companies, they’d firstly have to remove the shareholder from the chair

  • PUT LITTLE DATA BEFORE BIG DATA

I worry about all this talk of a brave new world where companies have unprecedented amounts of customer data, knowledge and analytics at their fingertips. To do what exactly? I doubt that many of us consumer want to be relentlessly sold to, having been brilliantly targeted and hunted down like prey. Where is the heart behind the machine? Organisations still have to firstly earn the right to ask for more of my money, which means getting the basics right and being there for me when I need them and moreover, doing this consistently. Sounds simple, but it’s not.

So, with power comes responsibility; with big data comes bigger responsibility.  Let’s please not forget the basics of serving customers, one at a time. There’s a great quote from Howard Schultz who, complaining in 2008 that Starbucks had lost its’ focus on the customer, wrote:  “We thought in terms of millions of customers and thousands of stores instead of one customer, one partner and one coffee at a time. We forgot that “ones” add up.”

  • LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF SOCIETY; IT’S GETTING LOUDER

It used to be enough for a company to act a good corporate citizen through its green initiatives, workforce volunteering and sponsorships.  Thus the CSR box got ticked. Wolff Olins wrote in their Game Changer paper about a ‘lukewarm bath’ of ad hoc policies to neutralise the embarrassing stuff: “banks stayed greedy but continued to pour money into the arts”. 

Reputation becomes all important as societal scrutiny grows: how close to the wind does the company sail in its tax affairs?; how well does it look after its workers, are suppliers exploited? Issues that in the past had, on the face of it, not that much to do with the actual product nor even with the customer voice. Apparently, when he took office, the IBM chairman asked, ‘why would society allow us to operate’? That’s a really good question and one that’s going to have to be taken more seriously in the future.

Managing the tensions between different groups’ needs – shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers, partners, and wider society – will become tougher and more visible.  Peter Drucker wrote in 1973: “to know what a business is, we have to start with its purpose. Its purpose must be outside of the business itself. In fact, it must lie in society since business enterprise is an organ of society”.

  • LEARN TO LIVE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m no expert in social, but it’s here to stay, so let’s stop acting like rabbits dazzled in the headlights. It feels wrong to:

  • Run fun and sexy “like me, please” campaigns that have very little to do with what your business is about: I doubt that a ‘social’ veneer will turn it into something it isn’t. Think of Dad dancing at the disco
  • Sometimes respond, sometimes not. Are you really ‘closed’ at the weekend, for example? A recent survey by Customer Service Investigator found that big name brands responded to only 14% of requests for help, via social media!
  • Use social media for self-serving propaganda; consumers aren’t naive, and will see through it. Think of the Waitrose campaign from a few months ago, or more recently how Starbucks’ “spread the cheer” campaign backfired.
  • Treat it like a separate channel, or an add-on, to be picked up and put down

Social is turbo-charged conversations. Why wouldn’t you want to talk to, listen and learn from customers? And, because great customer experiences start with your own people…

  • MAKE YOUR OWN WORKFORCE A FORCE FOR GOOD

As I suggested earlier, every employee ought to be an advocate for their own company’s products. If they’re not, then some serious questions need to be asked. Like what are you doing here, for one, and why does the company feel that a dis-engaged workforce will lead to happy customers?

There’s a wealth of data out there to show that when people are proud of their company good things happen: they stand up for it, they own their friends’ problems and so on, all in order to change the external perception.

I was reminded of this when I read a spokesperson for Barclays say, in a recent Marketing Week article “I see what the organisation believes internally and it is not the organisation that is portrayed, the organisation people see from the exterior”.

The power and role of workforce advocates will grow. After all, the 2012 Edelmans Trust Barometer tells us that while the CEO is declining as a credible information source (understandable, given the bad rep automatically bestowed on most high profile CEOs these days), the rank and file employee is growing in credibility as an information source and company representative, probably because it’s much easier to relate to them than it is your average CEO.

  • REWARD THE RIGHT BEHAVIOURS

You get the most behaviours from the behaviours you reward the most. A couple of recent US cases involving big companies are noteworthy. The New York Times ran a story about Staples in the US who, according to employees, “has in place a set of incentives that make it unpleasant, to put it mildly, for staffers to sell a computer without a whole bunch of accessories, particularly a service plan”. Hmm. On the plus side, GM Motors’ CEO launched a new compensation structure that connects staff bonuses to loyalty, measured by repeat purchases, in other words, people coming back and buying more cars.

 Incentivising for short-term sales is not compatible with generating long term loyalty. No amount of positive internal messages about looking after customers – the kind of stuff seen on office walls – will counteract those metrics that affect the pay-packet.

References:

  • Forrester, December 2012
  • PWC 10 Minutes on Customer Impact, March 2012.         
  • Wolff Olins, Game Changers, 2012
  • Peter Drucker, 1973
  • Marketing Week, Barclays promises a ‘relentless customer focus’ to rebuild trust, 6th December 2012
  • CSI Infographic, 11th December in mediabistro.com

Image courtesy of www.freeimageslive.com

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 Flickr.com)

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.  

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