NPS Blog

An Open Letter to Telcos: Simplify Before Your Customers Hang Up

fred-linkedin-telco-220x207Telecom carriers are in a unique position to delight customers at every turn, and many are not taking advantage of that opportunity.

After all, people use their phones for everything. Consumers surveyed by Bain last year said they would miss their phone more than their wallet. Broadband service and Wi-Fi has become a basic need to businesses, and you’ll rarely see a more agitated customer than the one who can’t access a free Wi-Fi network.

However, many are not delivering memorable customer experiences that make people’s lives easier. My latest post on LinkedIn discusses how the telecom industry could benefit from some simplification.

You can read the post here: Simplify Before Your Customers Hang Up

Podcast Shorts: Huddles in the Net Promoter System

markey-cao-220x207Huddles are short, interactive team meetings, usually 15 to 30 minutes. These regular get-togethers—often daily or weekly—are a critical element of the Net Promoter System.

These meetings might be brief, but they reconnect employees to a company’s core mission. They reinforce their commitment to serve customers better and create more promoters. They also connect the inner loop mechanism to the outer loop and help speed learning.

In this short episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast, I discuss their role in building customer advocacy and engaging employees. You can listen to the episode on iTunes, Stitcher or in the player below.

Read more: The Net Promoter System’s “Huddle”: How Employees Come Together to Focus on Customers and Teamwork

Podcast: What Really Motivates People

daniel-pink-220x207It’s a question just about every manager wrestles with: How do I get my employees to do what I want them to do? How do I get them to be more empathetic to customers? To take feedback and make meaningful changes?
Obviously, fair pay is essential, but there’s far more to it. After all, motivating people requires tapping into deep emotional needs for autonomy, purpose and affiliation.

I had the good fortune to sit down with Daniel Pink, author of the 2011 best-seller Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In the book, Dan breaks down the scientific research on motivation and explains why simple carrot-and-stick approaches rarely result in the behaviors that companies want. I cite his work all the time with clients.

You can listen to our conversation on iTunes, Stitcher or through the player below.

Recommended reading: Your Best Employees Work for Love, Not Money

Podcast: Answering Listeners’ Net Promoter System Questions

Rob MarkeyThe Net Promoter Score is a simple measure, but building a process and culture that results in deep customer relationships can be very complex. In this episode, I answer listeners’ questions on everything from competitive benchmarks to best practices for following up with customers.

You can listen to the episode on iTunes, Stitcher or through the player below.

Do you have a Net Promoter question? Feel free to tweet it to me to @rgmarkey on Twitter or write it in the comments field below.

Podcast Shorts: The Inner Loop of the Net Promoter System

Rob MarkeyThe Net Promoter System has a mechanism called the inner loop that helps employees of all kinds get real-time feedback directly from customers. The feedback is usually positive—most employees do their job pretty well—so people typically become more engaged and enthusiastic. The occasional criticism or complaint about a specific interaction or decision can help individual employees and the organization learn to do their jobs better.

The challenge is to set up the inner loop in the right way, so that it reinforces learning rather than undermining it.

In this short episode, I discuss how the inner loop speeds learning. You can listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher or through the player below:

Learn more: The Net Promoter System’s “Inner Loop”: The Secret to Individual Learning and Connections with Customers

Podcast: What Does It Really Take to Become an Expert?

Anders EricssonThe best companies—loyalty leaders that grow profitably—do things to teach their employees to do their jobs better. In fact, the Net Promoter System was designed to help companies facilitate and accelerate individual learning. The system’s inner loop and huddle play important roles in encouraging feedback and coaching so that employees can serve customers better and contribute to the mission of their organizations.

Some people think that developing deep expertise simply requires time and practice, but there’s more to it.

Psychologist Anders Ericsson, coauthor of the new book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, and his team have deconstructed what it takes to become a true expert in a variety of fields. What they’ve discovered can be applied at any company.

You can listen to our conversation on iTunes, Stitcher or through the player below.

Are You Getting the Most out of the Net Promoter System? Five Questions to Ask

It’s a scenario that we routinely see: A company starts off using the Net Promoter System with great enthusiasm, gets a few quick wins and then hits a wall. The company’s leaders inevitably ask us, “What are we doing wrong?”

I’m asked this question so often that I developed an assessment tool that allows companies to measure their Net Promoter efforts in a straightforward and quantitative way. The premise is simple: We analyzed what Net Promoter leaders do and then worked backward to understand why they achieve stellar results.

The Net Promoter System Assessment

It turns out there are a number of best practices that leading Net Promoter companies consistently follow, including having the right leadership at the top, having a reliable way to collect data and enabling employees to understand and share what they’re learning. And the more best practices a company follows, the more it will get out of the system.

If you’re not sure you’re getting the most out of the Net Promoter System, here are five questions to ask:

1. Do you know the factors influencing Net Promoter Scores for different customer segments?

Some customers generate more revenue than others; it’s a fact. But most companies don’t have a solid grasp of loyalty economics. They haven’t calculated the value of creating promoters among their customers. In a recent survey of Net Promoter practitioners, nearly three-quarters of respondents disagreed with the statement, “We have been able to calculate word of mouth and referral economics,” indicating they had not yet connected the scores they were collecting with loyalty economics.

For example, a bank looking just at aggregate Net Promoter Scores might conclude that its average customer hates long teller lines. But without probing further, executives will miss the fact that the bank’s high-value customers take steps to avoid lines—so reducing wait times won’t improve their experience as much as upgrading mobile tools.

2. How are your customer feedback response rates?

Net Promoter Scores are important in the right context, but don’t stop there. The trend in response rates is also important. If they’re starting to fall, it may be an early indicator of customer dissatisfaction. Leading Net Promoter companies also evaluate the mix of respondents, even if their response rates are strong, to ensure they’re getting feedback from the right people.

3. Who is leading my Net Promoter efforts?

At leading Net Promoter companies, the executive who’s running the effort usually reports to the CEO. If that person is more than two levels below the CEO, the company’s Net Promoter System isn’t getting the attention it deserves from leadership. The chain of command, however, isn’t as important as the leader’s ability to influence colleagues.

Some Net Promoter companies go a step further and create a central team or a customer advocacy office to put Net Promoter methods and tools to work.

4. Does your CFO believe in your Net Promoter System?

When you know the Net Promoter Scores for your key customer segments, the logical next step is to use that information to make investment decisions that will help your company grow. But problems can arise when a company’s chief financial officer relies solely on backward-looking financial metrics.

The success of any Net Promoter System requires support from every department and business function, from the very top to the front line. CFOs of top Net Promoter companies treat the system as a predictive tool that allows them to allocate resources in ways that serve customers best. These companies usually have a strong “outer loop,” a Net Promoter System mechanism for making systemic changes that support customers.

5. Can employees explain the Net Promoter System? And why that’s important.

We recently worked with a company that touted its strong commitment to the Net Promoter System. However, when the firm’s executives took our assessment, they realized there were some gaps to address. Even though top and middle managers were fired up about Net Promoter, the front line in one division saw it as just another corporate initiative. And while it was working well in another division, no one was sharing those best practices across the company. This company shifted its focus to training and saw some good results.

I invite you to try Bain’s Net Promoter System Assessment tool. We’ve set the bar high, so please don’t be discouraged if you’re not yet hitting all the marks. Very few companies are there yet.

Over the coming weeks, I will explore in more detail the best practices that the assessment tool measures. You can sign up on the right to receive our blog posts by email, or follow us on Twitter (@NetPromoterSys) for updates.

Podcast Shorts: Who Should Run Your Net Promoter System?

Rob MarkeyWhat qualities and experiences make for a successful chief advocacy officer? Not just anyone will do, regardless of how bright and ambitious he or she may seem to be.

The best CAOs aren’t always the people you might think of first, and they aren’t always working in predictable roles. But one thing is for sure: It’s important to choose someone who has the respect of the organization’s leaders.

In this short episode, I talk about some critical considerations for companies that are choosing a CAO. You can listen to it on iTunes or through the player below.

Learn more: Who Should Run Your Net promoter System?

Podcast: Finding the Road to Authenticity at Lyft

Mary Winfield of LyftRide-hailing companies disrupted the traditional taxi and limo industry by offering unprecedented convenience. But less has been said about the customer experience at these fast-growing companies, which typically allow customers and drivers to rate their interactions. After all, these companies rely on thousands of independent drivers in markets across the country.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mary Winfield, vice president of customer experience and trust at Lyft. She says that her company strives to create a culture of respect with drivers that empowers them to make authentic connections with passengers. The company does that by offering services that help drivers get paid quickly and resolve problems faster. Mary also makes time in her schedule to interact with customers and drivers.

You can listen to the episode on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to browse past podcast episodes.

Podcast Shorts: The Essential Role of the Customer Advocacy Office

markey-cao-220x207A company needs more than a CEO’s support to get the most out of the Net Promoter System. That’s why some companies set up a customer advocacy office, or CAO, that focuses on learning about—and improving—the customer experience.

A customer advocacy office can serve as the project management office that coordinates product development, marketing and other functional groups in the organization to focus on the customer experience. Net Promoter provides the methodology and the tools; the CAO is the arm of management that puts the methods and tools to work.

In this short episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast, I discuss the benefits of a customer advocacy office. You can listen to the episode on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to view more more episodes.

Learn more: The Essential Role of the Customer Advocacy Office

Podcast Shorts: Get Real Feedback from Your B2B Customers

Rob MarkeyMost companies that serve other companies solicit feedback, often in the form of quarterly or semiannual satisfaction surveys.

The Net Promoter System in a B2B setting also solicits feedback from customers. But that’s where the similarity to conventional methodologies ends. This system’s twin goals are to foster customer engagement and build strong client relationships. It isn’t so much a survey method as a means of facilitating relationship-enhancing conversations. It helps sales reps and account managers get involved in solving customers’ problems. It shows marketers and product designers and service engineers ways to make the customer’s experience better. The feedback it provides is continuous: It offers granular insights into what is troubling or delighting any given customer at any given time.

In this short episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast, I talk about how the system can facilitate relationship-enhancing conversations.

You can listen to the episode on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to view more episodes.

Learn more: Get Real Feedback from Your B2B Customers

Podcast: Want to Empower Employees? Start by Letting Go

Lee CockerellHow do you get the best out of employees? Scripted interactions and oppressive rules are never the answer. The best companies hire the right people and set the right expectations, and they trust their employees to use their judgment to make customers happy. When executives step back, employees provide more authentic and empathetic service.

Former Disney executive Lee Cockerell returns to the podcast to share his tips for striking that balance between loose and tight control. At Disney, Lee ran a operation with tens of thousands of employees who were spread across a huge physical space and represented many operational and service functions. What does it take to create a magical experience on that scale? Strong hires, high expectations and trust.

You can listen to our discussion on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to view more episodes.

If you missed Lee’s first interview, you can check it out here: At Disney, the Show Must Go On 

 

Podcast: What Do You Call the Space Between Your Company and Mine?

CA's Dayton SemerjianWhat do you call the space between you and your customer? According to Dayton Semerjian, that’s where you’ll find the true value of a customer relationship. Dayton is general manager of global customer success and support at the IT services firm CA Technologies.

CA’s customers tend to be large companies, and the decision to buy its software and services is usually made by big groups of people armed with heavy analysis. Customer relationships can be very complex, involving many internal teams that handle sales, implementation and tech support.

It’s not that uncommon for some customers to feel like they’ve fallen through the cracks in situations like these. In this episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast, Dayton shares what it takes to earn promoters in complex client relationships.

You can listen to our discussion on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to view more episodes.

Learn more: Do Your B2B Customers Promote Your Business?

Podcast: Inside the Four Seasons Approach to Five-Star Service

Barbara TalbottHotels didn’t always give out free toiletries. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when a Four Seasons hotel in London first started offering shampoo in showers that other hotels started following suit. And Four Seasons has been setting high standards for luxury travel—and hospitality in general—ever since.

In the latest Net Promoter System Podcast episode, Barbara Talbott, former chief marketing officer at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, shares how the company grew from a small chain to a global luxury brand during her two decades with the company. She left the company to start GlenLarkin Advisors in 2009, and now shares her keen sense of customer experience with other companies.

You can listen to the episode on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to view more episodes.

When a Company Wins, Everybody Should Win—Even the “Losers”

fred-reichheld-everybody-wins-npsWhen a company shifts its internal investments around, employees who get the short end often feel like corporate losers—marginalized and demoralized. Employees might even stop caring about the company’s mission or the needs of customers, and that’s when real damage sets in for any company.

But what if a company considered a team’s sacrifices just as important to its mission as a team’s achievements? In that scenario, hard-working employees and managers would be heroes for doing more with less. What if having a smaller budget was as much a sign of professional success as a large one?

In my latest post on LinkedIn, I apply a loyalty lens to the Founder’s Mentality. Read the post here: When a Company Wins, Everybody Should Win—Even the “Losers”.