Posts Tagged ‘Fred Reichheld’

Would your employees recommend your company as a place to work? Would they recommend you as a person to work for?

Net Promoter Score® is an effective and efficient method to use to check the health of the customer relationship. But, don’t forget the health of the employee relationship. Employee loyalty is just as critical as customer loyalty.

At the recent Net Promoter conference, Fred Reichheld, the creator of the Net Promoter Score® practice reminded us how important it is to include employees in the feedback process and not to separate employee engagement from customer engagement. To read a summary of Reichheld’s thoughts, as presented by Destination CRM, click here.

Reichheld makes that point that engaged, loyal customers create engaged and loyal customers. We have all had the experience of being served by a miserable customer service agent and how that can ruin your day. On the other hand, being served by someone who is happy in their job and committed to providing excellent customer service makes all the difference in the world. Guess which one is going to create a loyal customer?

So, why don’t companies make more use of NPS® to measure employee loyalty and engagement? Perhaps they don’t feel the need, or they may not want to know the answers.  But, according the Reichheld, it is as easy as asking just two questions:  “How likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?” and “How likely are you to recommend your team leader as a person to work for?”

Measure the health of your employee relationship and you’ll have an insight into the health of your customer relationship.

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

Advertisements

If you’re like me, your wallet (or purse) is crammed with so-called loyalty cards. They come from grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and even credit card companies themselves. But, are they really loyalty cards or are they just rewarding frequent purchases? Are they effective?

Do these cards increase purchase frequency? In my case they do. I will buy my gas at the same station every week because it offers Air Miles.

Do these cards drive product preference? Yes, because I try to use only my MasterCard credit card because, again, I can accumulate more Air Miles.

Do these cards result in brand switching? Yes, because I will select a brand (within my substitutable set of brands or commodity products) if there are reward points associated with the purchase.

So, the cards can influence purchase behaviors, which is good for marketers, but do they drive loyalty? Do the cards create Promoters. My response is emphatically NO!

Loyalty is based on an emotional attachment for a product or brand. To paraphrase Fred Reichheld, author of The Ultimate Question, “Have I been treated in a way that is worthy of my loyalty?”. If I have been treated well, received good value, had my expectations exceeded and developed an emotional attachment to the product or service, then I have become a loyal customer and will  recommend a product or service.

Plastic cards are no guarantee that I will be treated well or fairly. They do not create those intangible “warm and fuzzy” feelings that signify loyalty. My use of these cards is a very rational decision, and nothing to do with loyalty. For example, I shopped at a local grocery store for years to amass more Air Miles. On the surface, the retailer would see me as a loyal customer who shopped there on a regular basis and spent lots of money. In fact, I hated the store and shopped there only because it was conveniently located, open 24 hours and offered Air Miles. As soon as a better store open closer to my home, I was gone even though the new store did not offer reward points. I became a former customer overnight because I had a better option. Had I been a loyal customer, they would still have my business.

On the other hand, I have owned 12 Toyotas since 1976. They don’t offer reward points but I have developed a deep emotional attachment with the brand and that has overcome all the disappointments that the brand has experienced in the past year or so. I don’t need a plastic card to give them my business provided they continue to treat me fairly, offer good value and exceed my expectations. I just feel good about the brand.

Those little plastic cards can influence purchase decisions. They can provide incentives to change behaviors. But call them what they really are – reward cards not loyalty cards.

My loyalty is not for sale.

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

What if you threw a party and nobody came?

What if you implemented a Net Promoter Score™ program and nobody bought into it?

What if you had a simple process to get your employees engaged in an NPS® program and keep them engaged?

Over the past year, I’ve trained a lot of company employees on Net Promoter Score, the Closed-loop concept and related applications. The employees were “assigned” to take the training with the intent that all employees would gain a basic understanding of the importance of NPS.

When facing these employees in a classroom setting, my first challenge was to address the “WIIFM” attitude – commonly known as “What’s in it for me?” The other issue was often “What’s this got to do with my department? We don’t work directly with customers.” It’s easy for senior executives at the top of the company pyramid to understand the big picture, the long-term horizon and how NPS can drive profit and growth. But is difficult when you’re at the bottom looking up to understand how you fit into the bigger picture.

And who can blame employees for being skeptical of yet another new training initiative? These could be the same employees who have lived through TQC, ISO 9001, 6 Sigma, Search for Excellence, One-to-One Marketing, Emotional Intelligence and Good to Great. Past experience drives future expectations.

So, how do you get the employees interested, engaged and committed? Here is a simple six step process that I’ve developed to ease the pain of implementing a NPS program.

1.Recruit

Employees need to be actively recruited to the NPS program using the same marketing and promotion skills that would be used to acquire new customers. Identify the short and long term benefit of an NPS program and how it may impact their career, future and financial situation. Make it desirable.

2.Re-fit

The basic NPS concept is purposely designed as a “one size fits all”. However, it needs to be tailored specifically to fit the employees and their roles and responsibilities. You must show each employee and each department how they impact the customer experience. Make it personal.

3.Re-word

Every company and department has a unique lexicon that is almost like a secret code. Re-word and re-phrase the NPS program so that is can be easily understood by everyone in the organization. Put it into words and terms that are commonly used around the office and on the factory floor. Make it relevant.

4.Re-set

If you already have a list of employee performance metrics (and who doesn’t) review and reset them to reflect the objectives and outcomes of the NPS program. NPS performance metrics should focus on desired employee behaviours, so watch out for conflicts and contradictions in metrics. Don’t be afraid of tossing out the old, beloved metrics of days gone by. If they didn’t work then, they’re not going to work now. Make it real.

5.Reward

Implementing change is hard work and often a risky venture. If the risk of change exceeds the reward, employees may not want to take the plunge. Implementing an NPS program requires a commitment to change in the organization and culture. Recognize those employees with the fortitude to drive change and challenge the status quo. Reward them for their efforts and sing their praises when they are successful. Make it all worthwhile.

6.Reinforce

A two hour training session does not create an expert. A training manual does not result in commitment. Posters don’t drive change; engaged employees drive change. The tenets of NPS require constant nurturing and reinforcing through communications, review, examples, team meetings, celebrations and demonstrations of corporate commitment. NPS is a way of doing business, not a way of keeping score. Make it part of the company culture.

Implementing a Net Promoter Score program within your company can result in a tidal wave of change throughout the organization. But, that tidal wave of change starts out as a ripple of understanding and commitment from each and every employee.

You need all your employees to come to the party.

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

Although the Net Promoter Score® process is a simple and effective way to measure and track customer loyalty, we should not fall into the trap of oversimplifying the drivers of loyalty. For every product or service there is a series of steps, interactions, and opportunities to create or destroy customer loyalty. Each of these steps or interactions can make or break the health of the customer relationship. Fred Reichheld, in his book The Ultimate Question, refers to this linear series of steps or interactions as the Customer Corridor. Just like in any journey, one misstep can have a disastrous impact on loyalty. Let me explain by relating my own, recent experience.

I finally made the plunge and purchased a large, flat screen HD TV. But what is an HD TV without the digital HD signal? That’s when I began my journey down the Customer Corridor of my local cable provider. I’ll not name the provider directly, so I’ll give them a pseudonym. I’ll call them Dodgers to protect myself from any possible legal action.

As a long time customer of Dodgers wireless and cable services, I often receive their marketing materials regarding their Hi Def cable service. As the first step on the Customer Corridor, the materials made a favorable impression. In fact, when my son purchased his HD TV, I recommended Dodgers to him. So, it was not surprising that I chose Dodgers as my supplier of the HD digital signal.

It was all down hill from that point.

With my new shiny HD TV set up and hungry for a Hi Def signal, I set out on the next step in the Customer Corridor and scampered off to my closest Dodgers retail outlet to pick up a rental HD Digital cable box. “Sorry,” they told me at that store, “Our systems are down and you’ll have to go to the Dodgers Plus store if you want to rent the cable box.” Slightly miffed, but still anxious to obtain my own HD TV experience, I set out on the next step of the Corridor and plodded off to the Dodgers Plus store.

After a twenty minute drive, I finally found the store and bounded in with all the energy of a playful puppy. Things were looking up as I spotted the in-store kiosk which I assumed was the spot to register for HD TV service. After waiting 10 minutes without being served, a Dodgers employee casually enlightened me to the fact that I was waiting in the wrong area, and had to proceed to the next Corridor step, the waiting line. I was now the sixth, non-smiling person in the line. This step in the Customer Corridor was not moving very far, very fast.

With all the patient of a three-year-old with a full bladder, I finally reached the front of the line and asked Rosie how to sign up for HD service. Maybe it was just me sliding into a foul mood, but Rosie seemed to rattle off the requirements for HD TV in mere milliseconds. I could only hope that my new TV had a refresh rate as fast as Rosie’s sales pitch. I nodded something akin to acceptance which prompted Rosie to hustle off to the pack room. She quickly (good for her sake) returned with a bag full of electronic gear. She thrust the bag toward me and told me this was all I needed and the instructions where in the bag. I asked if the service was “plug and play” and if I needed to do anything else to get the service started. “Nope,” she replied “I’ve initiated the service from here. Next customer please.” So, with bag in hand, and very little information in my brain, I headed home to the next step in the Corridor.

I returned home with heightened expectations. Now I had the HD signal within my grasp. Of course, you can guess how the next Corridor step unfolded. I plugged in all the cords, deciphered the instruction manual as best I could, turned on all the buttons and waited for the Glorious High Definition Picture! Actually, I repeated this step fours times before I reluctantly made the “I’m so stupid, I can’t get this #%$!&* thing to work” call the Dodgers customer service.

The Dodgers IVR assured me that they valued my business and the wait in the customer service queue would not be too long. I doggedly held on, listening to the marketing pitches, so I would not lose my place in the queue. I spent my time scanning the manual to see if I had missed a step. I was about to take the back off the cable box with my teeth when the Dodgers customer care agent clicked in. After the normal interrogation about my name, number, birth date and shoe size, I was allowed to explain my situation. With a condescending tone, the agent advised me that the cable box needed to be initiated to get the signal (despite Rosie’s claim it was ready to go). When this didn’t work, we tried twice more before the agent decided that the problem needed to be punted over the wall to Technical Services. On to the next step in the Corridor.

The technical service agent interrogated me about my name, number, birth date and shoe size, and then I was allowed to explain my situation. His attempts to get the signal to my TV were futile and he decided that I needed a visit from an in-home service technician. I have to admit that I lost my cool when he told me it would be at least five days before someone could come to the house to resolve my issue. “Not good enough”, I exclaimed “I want it and I want it now”. He seemed genuinely taken aback by my response. His only other remedy was to return the cable box and exchange it for another. He was guessing the box might be at fault. His suggestion got me off the line and out of the house.

So back I went to the Dodgers store. To be honest, the store staff was very efficient in replacing the cable box. Very few questions asked. I could only surmise they had done this before, many times before.

Would it be a surprise to say that Cable Box #2 didn’t resolve the issue? Didn’t think so. Back to customer care, back to the interrogation and onward to Technical Service. However, this time, I was told that a technician could be at my house the very next day to fix my problems. Since it was now dinner time, and I had already lost a day of Hi Def viewing, I jumped at the offer and booked the service tech for 11:00 am to 2:00 pm the next day. So began the next steps in this journey.

The service technician arrived the next day at 12:30 pm, well within the scheduled arrival window. A good start and hopefully a sign of things to come, I thought. Wrong again.

After checking the outside cable, which was nearly 30 years old, he determined that the cable could not carry the digital signal. This would have been really good to know when I initially picked up the cable box. I cannot be the only one in the city in this situation.

The tech then proceeded to pull a new cable from the underground cable vault, across my neighbor’s driveway, up a lamppost, through two trees, around my downspout, around my house, through a new hole in the wall and, finally, to my new virginal HD TV. Voila! I had HD TV! But, it was too soon to get excited.

After some checking, the tech determined that cable box #2 did not show an IP address. It seems this is needed if I ever wanted to order Dodgers- On- Demand. So, back down the Corridor and back to the store I went for a third cable box.

I’ll give the store staff full credit. They did not run and hide when I entered the store, perhaps because I was on a first name basis with most of them. The young fellow who had serviced me the previous day greeted me with “What; you again?” Sympathetic to my plight, he found me a brand new cable box (based on the manufactured date) and assured me that the cable box would not be the cause of any further problems.

He was right. Cable box #3 delivered the picture I have been dreaming of and it had an IP address. It was time to relax with a mildly alcoholic beverage of my choice and enjoy the HD shows. Or, at least until my neighbor started banging on my door.

It seems that the service technician, in his haste, had left the new cable draped across my neighbour’s driveway. She was very concerned, and quite rightly so, that the exposed cable would be a dangerous tripping hazard. I was concerned that the cable might get broken or cut and then I would lose my coveted signal. I had to act fast.

Back I went to customer care, who sent me to technical services who sent me to facilities scheduling. Yes, they agreed the cable represented a danger and they would send someone out to fix the problem. They gave me a case number to refer to but no specific time when the cable would be secured. My neighour also called Dodgers to complain. I guess she did not have my tact for handling these types of situations. She was told that if she didn’t like the way it was being handled she could call the president of Dodgers directly. She has yet to make that call but the conversation is being shared with most of the neighborhood.

Several days passed and there was no sign of a Dodgers technician willing to secure the cable. My neighbor was getting testy so I grabbed my box of tools and spent 30 minutes of my own time to secure the cable. This calmed down my neighbor and made sure that my HD signal would not leave me any time soon. I wonder how I can bill Dodgers for my time.

As I mentioned at the onset, the Customer Corridor offers many steps to impact the customer experience, leading to a likelihood of recommending. In my case, I would recommend Dodgers based on their marketing materials, a certain retail staff member and the final HD TV picture. I would definitely not recommend Dodgers based on the ability of customer care and technical services to resolve an issue over the phone. I would recommend Dodgers based on the in-home technician’s ability to identify the cause of my problem, but would definitely not recommend based on the sloppy work of the same technician.

Overall, the combined steps along the Corridor resulted in a Detractor not a Promoter. Analyzing the Customer Corridor will highlight what your company does well, but will also point out the specific interactions or transactions that may have a negative impact on the customer experience.

Loyalty is not the result of a single experience, but the accumulated impact of many steps in the walk along the Customer Corridor.

Are there any bumps or potholes along your company’s Customer Corridor? Take a walk and find out.

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

If you read my earlier blogs, you’ll know that I have been a devoted and loyal Toyota owner since 1976. In the past, I’ve recommended Toyotas to anyone within hearing distance. The cars have been dependable, reliable and, in spite of ongoing price creep, a good value in cars.

But now what do I do? With all the recalls for Toyota products, do I continue to recommend freely, or do I qualify my recommendation? Would anybody even believe my recommendation? Have I suddenly become a Passive?

To make matters worse, the lease on my 2006 Camry ends in April 2010. I’ve been shopping the Toyota dealerships looking for a replacement, but every model I considered has been recalled. I even test drove the Prius hybrid and was seriously considering leasing the new 2010 model. Then, surprise surprise, the Prius seemed to develop software issues with the brakes. How discouraging!

This is really testing the limits of my Net Promoter instincts. Promoters, by definition, are tolerant of missteps by manufacturers to whom they are loyal. They give manufactures a lot of latitude and expect (or pray) that defects are anomalies that will be resolved and fixed. As a long time Toyota owner, that’s what I’m doing.

A report by Reuters indicates that Toyota Canada has ramped up its advertising spending, but the ads are aimed at its existing customers, rather than at new ones. A company spokesperson says that the future is in the hands of customers driving the cars today, not some potential customers. Toyota seems to understand the importance of their Promoters and wants to keep them that way. OK, Mr. Toyoda, I’m waiting to be convinced that all is good in Toyota Land. I’ve got to get a new car and soon. As a Promoter, I’ll give you my business, but you’ve got to give me back my peace of mind.

In the meantime, I’m going to check out the new Hyundai Tucson. Maybe even take it for a test drive. I don’t think I’m going to like this one bit!

 

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

I recently read on one of the Net Promoter® forums a posting that asked the question “Is my company big enough for an NPS® program?”. The Poster felt that his/her company was too small to benefit from implementing a Net Promoter program.

Although Satmetrix, in their Net Promoter ® Associate training (which I attended in May ’09) claims that nearly 700 of the Top 1000 Companies uses Net Promoter, this does not mean that smaller enterprises cannot benefit from the NPS process and discipline. In fact, NPS could be even more valuable to the smaller company.

In my previous posts, I discussed how NPS identifies the Promoters who become free extensions of a company’s marketing department, not to mention that they are the most profitable customers. So, why should this benefit be limited to only the large organizations like Apple, eBay and Harley Davidson? Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) all the way down to the individual Entrepreneur can implement and benefit from NPS. Every company, regardless of size, can use more profitable customers and no-cost marketers to promote their business. And all companies, regardless of size, need to understand the factors that create Detractors.

NPS is very scalable and affordable for the smaller organization. I’ve seen an NPS program implemented for a large North American financial institution as well as a program for a local independent financial advisor with only 300 clients. The basic tenets of NPS apply to both businesses. In other instances, I’ve seen an NPS program put in place for a small entrepreneurial heating and air conditioning service supplier as well as an independent construction crane contractor. Neither company had a large staff nor a long client list, but both CEOs took away some key insights that helped drive their business growth.

The two key issues that seem to be of concern for smaller companies are the costs associated with an NPS program and the internal resources required to manage the program and to analyze the results.

With smaller companies and shorter customer lists, costs are generally contained since the sample size is smaller. In the case of the financial advisor, 100 completed NPS questionnaires were gathered from a base of 300 clients. And since the NPS questionnaire is very short, the telephone data collection (used because of the sensitive nature of the client relationship) proved to be very affordable for the financial advisor. Costs would be even lower for an online survey using a qualified, client identified list. Yes, a larger sample size would improve the statistical significance of the data, but 100 completed interviews from a base of 300 will yield usable data.

Few small companies have a dedicated research department so they should lean on their Net Promoter® Loyalty Partner for the project management as well as the research analysis and reporting. This might cost a bit more, but could pay off in some very valuable insights. In the case of the large financial institution I mentioned, their large research department handled everything but data collection and data tables, while the financial advisor depended on the Net Promoter Partner for the project management, questionnaire construction, list management, data collection, data tables, analysis and final report. One such Net Promoter® Loyalty Partner that provides this type of comprehensive service is Consumer Contact Loyalty Monitor (www.loyaltymonitor.ca)

The frequency of data collection might need adjusting for a smaller company with a smaller client list. The NPS survey might be conducted quarterly instead of monthly, with the data aggregated into a rolling average. Less frequent surveying will also reduce the cost and the risk of over-researching a relatively small client base.

There is one advantage that SMEs have over the large companies when it comes to taking action based on NPS data. The agility of smaller companies allows them to identify the critical issues and swing into action mode very quickly and make any adjustments to the operations or organizational structure. Large organizations, in spite of their best intentions, still take a lot of effort to enact the changes indicated by the NPS data.

A Net Promoter Score™ program does require an effort and investment, but for the smaller enterprise it could prove to be one the best investments they could make to drive business growth and profit. You don’t have to be one of the Big Guys to benefit from NPS.

 

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

 

If you’re a homeowner you probably understand the concept of spending to save money. You’re encouraged by many levels of government to invest in new energy efficient windows, furnaces and water heaters to save money on your monthly fuel bill. If you own a car, you can trade in your old clunker and invest in a new energy efficient hybrid to save on gas over the next five years. The overall message is to invest today to save money tomorrow.

The message for Net Promoter® is the same. Invest in an integrated Net Promoter program today to reduce your costs and save money down the road. I know we’re in a brutal recession and funds are scare, but investing to measure customer loyalty and save money is still a viable fiscal strategy. And, it delivers a very positive ROI. CFOs and accountants like positive ROIs.

So, let’s have a look at how Net Promoter can reduce your costs:

Promoters recommend. When they recommend, they help you acquire new customers at a very low acquisition cost. This reduces costs and makes your acquisition budget go further. As a bonus, referred customers (according to SatMetrix® research data) have fewer problems and complaints which reduces your administration costs. Another cost savings in the bag.

Promoters stay longer, use more of your product or services and they complain less. Over the long term, they generate more profit and cost less in maintenance costs. The acquisition costs can be amortized over a longer period, increasing the ROI on Promoters. This will make your accountant smile.

Promoters rarely take legal action (again, according to the SatMetrix® data). They like your company so why would they take you to court? Promoters are not likely to generate expensive lawsuits. This will make your legal department smile.

Promoters are a forgiving bunch and will overlook the minor transgressions that eventually befall all companies at some point. Promoters will forgive you when your company suffers a public embarrassment so that the need for an expensive Public Relations defensive smoke screen is lessened. Just don’t take them for granted. They will not forgive you forever.

Because Promoters are experienced customers, their demand curve is smoother and reduces the need for inventories to cover the peaks and valleys of unpredictable demand. Reduced inventories translate into reduced costs. This will make your CEO smile.

Finally, Promoters are nicer people to deal with. They like nearly everything about your company’s products and services so they treat your front line staff with respect and decency. Happy Promoters create happy employees. Happy employees are more productive employees and that means profits. This will make everyone in your company smile.

We’ve all heard that old chestnut. “You gotta’ spend money to make money”. Well, spending on a Net Promoter® program will make money and companies like Apple, ebay, Enterprise and Harley Davidson have proven that it works. They’re all smiling.

So, invest in a Net Promoter program and reduce your costs. It will bring a smile to your face.

 

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.