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Deep Dive: Net Promoter Score (NPS)

While there are critics of all relationship measures, I believe that the advantages of a single relationship metric far outweigh criticisms.

Net Promoter Score is one of the most commonly used, and based on a single question:

How likely are you to recommend ______________________ to a friend or colleague?

Based on a 0 to 10 scale, respondents are classified at Promoters, Passives or Detractors.  The percentage of those that answer as Promoters (9 or 10) minus the percentage of those that answer as Detractors (0 to 6) equals the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

NPS1

The developer of Net Promoter Score, Fred Reichheld, provides the following Rules of Measurement Principles1:

  • Ask the NPS question and little else
  • Choose a scale that works and stick to it
  • Aim for high response rates from the right customers
  • Report relationship data as frequently as financial data
  • The more granular the data, the more accountable the employees
  • Audit to ensure accuracy and freedom from bias
  • Validate that scores link to behaviors

With NPS, I recommend starting with two questions in addition to your typical segmentation questions (your segmentation questions are critical, especially the ability to tie NPS response to an individual customer).

  1. How likely are you to refer a friend or colleague to ___________ (insert your company name)?

Why?

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.


(1) Fred Reichheld, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, (2006, the Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation)

For more, check out my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.

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Deep Dive. The Financial Benefits of Building Identity and Values are Real

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Excerpt from Richard Barrett’s white paper, Building a Vision-Guided, Values-Driven Organization.  Reprinted with permission.

During the 1990’s the average annual shareholder return over a period of ten years was 23% in companies that make up the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America”. The average annual shareholder return of the Russell 3000 Index (a general index of American industry) over the same period was only 14%.

In 1998 there were 164 publicly held companies represented in three lists of “best” companies: Fortune Magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For”, Industry Week’s “100 Best Managed Companies”, and Working Mother’s list of “100 Best Companies”. Of these 164, thirty-eight were on more than one list. These “best” 38 showed consistently superior financial performance over a ten-year period of several percentage points over the 164, and the 164 showed a consistently superior financial performance of several percentage points over the Standards and Poor 500.

In “Corporate Culture and Performance,” Kotter and Heskett show that companies with strong adaptive cultures based on shared values outperformed other companies by a significant margin. Over an eleven-year period, companies that emphasized all stakeholders – employees, customers and stockholders, and focused on leadership development, grew four times faster than companies that did not. They also found that these companies had job creation rates seven times higher, had stock prices that grew twelve time faster and profit performance that was 750 times higher than companies that did not have shared values and adaptive cultures.

In “Built to Last,” Collins and Porras show that companies that consistently focused on building strong corporate cultures over a period of several decades outperformed companies that did not by a factor of 6 and outperformed the general stock market by a factor of 15.

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.

For more, check out my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.

Please post a comment or question.

I welcome your questions and inquiries.  Please connect with me via
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A Principle to Help Get and Keep More Customers

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All about getting and keeping more customers

The Touchpoint Principle™: The ability to get and keep desired customers and employees is enhanced by consistently delivering Valued Touchpoints.

The Touchpoint Principle has four key components to examine.

First, the Principle focuses on advancing the purpose of business – getting and keeping customers – according to renowned management guru, Peter Drucker.

Secondly, it adds “employees” to Drucker’s famous quote. Multiple case studies repeat the finding that improving customer-centricity enhances employee satisfaction and retention, and vice versa.

Third, the Touchpoint Principle addresses the Core Problem. A third component of the Touchpoint Principle is consistency. In order to improve customer-centricity, the core customer experience problem of inconsistency must be addressed.

Fourth, the definition of a Valued Touchpoint has a defined hierarchy. The definition is: A standardized interaction that is customer-centric while advancing the organization’s Values, Identity and Experience Strategy, and the touchpoint’s goal(s). In priority order, the hierarchy is:

  1. Standardized
  2. Customer-centric
  3. Values
  4. Identity
  5. Experience Strategy
  6. Goal(s)

Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 1. Standardized. To address the core problem of inconsistency, touchpoints must be standardized. Standards address inconsistency. More on this momentarily.

Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 2. Customer-centricity. For a touchpoint to be valued by the customer, it must meet their needs. Customer-centric organizations’ touchpoints are comfortable – customers don’t have a sense of fighting the touchpoint to accomplish their goal. This is true regardless of the nature of or type of touchpoint, e.g. phone, web, human, etc. Customer-centric organizations gather and apply the Intelligence needed to know their customers and their customers’ needs. As a result, they seem to anticipate needs at each touchpoint along customer journeys. In helping customers fulfill their needs, customer-centric organizations actually aid progression and conversions along customer journey stages.

How do we know where to put trash cans?
Through observation, Disney understands where their guests will typically need a trash can. They watch as guests purchase food and other items at outlets throughout their parks and where they then typically need a trash can. They have taken this intelligence and applied it to trash can location. The guideline is every 50’ along pathways and every 25’ along higher density entertainment venues, with guest use-patterns driving final placement. Rarely will a guest who has trash have to search long for a receptacle or go far out of their way to dispose of trash.

This example also highlights a typical ancillary benefit of good Customer Experience Management – greater efficiency. While this customer-centric approach to trash cans help Disney’s guests, it also cuts down on the amount of trash Disney employees have to pick up off the ground. This saves Disney time, effort and resources.

Listening doesn’t always surface the best answer
To know your customers and what they need, you have to listen and observe. The first time I had to swipe my own credit card years ago at the grocery store rather than handing it to the clerk to swipe, I found it awkward. I wasn’t used to doing it and it didn’t come naturally to me. Subsequently, I appreciated the time savings and the ability to retain control of my credit card.

If surveyed, I am sure that speed through check-out would have surfaced as one of my desires at most retail stores. Yet if asked, I certainly wouldn’t have come up with the solution of conducting my own credit card transaction. However, by observing the check-out process, retailers were able to see the time wasting activities. Getting customers to handle the credit card transaction while the clerk rings up the items manages two activities simultaneously, saving time and improving the experience.

Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 3. Values. Like the values you personally hold dear and live, organizations have and exhibit values. Customer-centric organizations have not only clearly defined their Values, but have integrated these into the fabric of their company. Their Values are a part of employee orientation, training, evaluation and promotion. They are talked about during meetings and, most importantly, exhibited by leaders.

Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 4. Identity. Customer-centric organizations have a clear understanding of how they want to be perceived – the perceptual asset they want to create in the mind of the customer – and how they want customers to feel about them. These organizations are who they are across all of their touchpoints.

Identity and Values must be compatible. Each touchpoint should advance, or at a minimum, not conflict with or detract from either Identity (who you are) or Values (what you stand for).

McDonald’s has a clear Identity
When you think of organizations with a consistent Identity, it is hard not to include McDonald’s. Driving this Identity are the seven core Values Ray Kroc used to build the business:

  • We place the customer experience at the core of all we do
  • We are committed to our people
  • We believe in the McDonald’s System
  • We operate our business ethically
  • We give back to our communities
  • We grow our business profitably
  • We strive to continually improve

In their Standards of Business Conduct, they write, “Inherent in each value is our commitment to be ethical, truthful and dependable.”

Is there any global business you know that is as “dependable” as McDonald’s? Their consistency is legendary, and it helps to drive and define their Identity.

Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 5. Experience Strategy. Organizations should have a long-term strategy in addition to their Operation and Experience Strategies. Valued Touchpoints serve to help, or at least not hinder, organizational efforts to achieve its long-term strategy while delivering on its Experience Strategy.

Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 6. Goals. Along the Three Customer Journeys (Relationship, Transactional and Value Add), both your organization and your customer have goals to achieve. Customer-Centricity (second in the Valued Touchpoint hierarchy after standardize) addresses meeting customer goals. Your goals also have to be a consideration at touchpoints.

If the customer is on a Transactional Journey to potentially purchase or repurchase, you want the customer to complete that purchase (if it is in their best interest) and have it be a positive experience.

Goals for an email may be that the recipient open and read the email and then click a link to access a specific web page. Once on the web page, the goal may be that the email recipient completes a form to download a white paper.

The goal of a thank you note can be just to make a good, warm impression that increases satisfaction or loyalty.

The goal of a sign on a display near the checkout of a retail store may be to prompt an impulse purchase.

As a touchpoint is designed, it is always important to keep its goal in mind.

A change in priorities
Notice that the goal of the touchpoint – i.e. have the customer click on a link – is last in the hierarchy of a Valued Touchpoint. This is opposite of how most touchpoints are developed and evaluated. Typically, the primary or only consideration in developing a touchpoint is the goal of the organization for the touchpoint – and don’t think customers don’t notice.

It’s all about value
Valued Touchpoints in service of the Touchpoint Principle deliver value to both the customer and the organization. This is consistent with the definition and purpose of Customer Experience Management:

The discipline used to comprehensively manage a customer's journeys with your organization, product, brand or service in the efficient creation of value for both customer and organization

Truth: The Consistency Competency is the means to transition an inconsistent touchpoint into a Valued Touchpoint.

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.

For more, check out my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.

Please post a comment or question.

I welcome your questions and inquiries.  Please connect with me via
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Why I Feel Sorry for Hertz Employees, and Will Never Rent from Hertz Again

minivan

Hypothesis: The corporate policy and decision-making at Hertz is driven by the finance department, while at Enterprise, it is driven by sales/marketing/customer service.  This is based on a single Hertz rental experience compared with multiple rentals from Enterprise.

The Hertz rental
When my new grandson arrived from Europe with his parents at the Orlando airport, they were renting a car I arranged for them at Hertz for the two hour or so drive to Atlantic Beach.  Who would have thought that they could have driven here and almost back to Orlando by the time they left Hertz for Atlantic Beach?

Challenges: The wrong child's seat and the wrong minivan
The rented minivan was to be in Hertz parking spot 201, but the placement of the parking spot numbers didn’t seem to align with the parking spots with several minivans.  So to be sure, an employee was asked which car was in spot 201?  With his minivan identified, Kris got in, drove to the Hertz checkout booth, and left to pick up the rest of the family.  It was there that they tried to put in the child seat.  With limited instructions on the seat, and the seat not seeming to fit rear-facing as required for his infant, he returned to Hertz for a different child seat and some help.  With a new seat and no help to be had, he went to leave again, only to find out that he was actually in the wrong minivan – back to the issue of the numbers not aligning with the parking places.

With the right minivan, he left Hertz for the second time (on his third attempt) to get his family and attempt to get the replacement child seat properly secured.  With the challenges being faced, I was called upon to help from afar.BabyCarSeat

Which numbers gets me to the counter?
Interestingly, it is a bit challenging to reach the Orlando counter.  Call their posted number, and just about every option in their call tree takes you to their national call center.  By the way Hertz, can you PLEASE have the recorded call tree voice talk faster.  I know we are in the south, but really – let’s pick it up.

Anyway, according to my phone, I called their number twelve times that day.   When asking those at the call center how to reach the Orlando counter, I was given the wrong answer three times (for those of you in the call center, it is option 8).  Choose option 8, and chances are you will go to voice mail.  I did leave a message, but felt it better to keep trying. 

I eventually reached Heather at the counter.  She was absolutely great - really trying to help as I talked with her and attempted to communicate with my family in Orlando.  Between Heather and Chad (the hero in this story), the child seat issue was eventually resolved hours later.   On his fourth attempt, Kris, with his son secured in a rear-facing child seat, finally headed to Atlantic Beach.

A systemic opportunity
A systemic opportunity in Orlando, and perhaps with other Hertz locations, is detailed instructions for how to install the child seat (they don’t come installed and they claim a policy against installing them for liability reasons).

On to Atlantic Beach – the return and the problems grow
We returned the car on a Sunday.  The local branch, where we had pre-arranged to return the car, opened at 9:00 am.  We were there minutes after it opened.  The car was rented Friday morning, with the contract signed quite early in the morning, about 7:30 am.  So despite the fact that it was hours before my family was able to head my way due to Hertz’s problem (wrong car, one faulty child seat and challenges putting the other one in without instructions), we were charged for three days.  As it is with most rental car companies, they work on a 24 hour clock.  So two days and an hour and a half (as in this case) = three days rental.  I explained the child seat issue and the fact that they didn’t open until 9:00 am to no immediate satisfaction – where is the empowerment?   I was told that I would have to call billing with this issue.  I asked if billing was open on a Sunday, and was assured that they were.

Please, own this problem
I called the billing number provided, and of course they were closed (closed every Sunday as it turns out).  Knowing exactly how to reach the call center (from my 12 calls on Friday), I gave them a call and reached Cynthia.  She told me I was going to have to call billing on Monday.  At this point, I had had enough.  I told Cynthia that she needed to own this problem and have billing call me – that I shouldn’t have to call and wait and wait and wait on hold again.

What the %$#& is a “time dispute?”
Of course, billing never called on Monday – the empowerment problem continues.  So on Tuesday, I called billing.  Interestingly, I had to sit through an advertisement for the cars they sell before my call would even ring through.  Now we all somewhat put up with the bad on hold music and propaganda messages, but don’t sell to me before you have a chance to answer my call.

“Summer” took my call and she told me that what we had here was a “time dispute.”   The fact that it had a name was ominous.  She then informed me that this time dispute would have to be sent to Orlando and that I would get an answer in about seven business days.

The overage of one and a half hours that threw us into a day three “time dispute” now has involved two gentlemen in the return location, Cynthia in the call center, Summer in billing, and who knows who in Orlando as they answer the time dispute inquiry.  And, of course, whoever and however they will communicate the results to me.  All of this to hopefully eek one more day rental out of me, or to credit me for one days car rental.  Wow!  And they wonder why Enterprise passed them years and years ago.

Great employees, but…
Interestingly, throughout this ordeal I have encountered really good Hertz employees who want to do right, but who appear to be hindered by systemic issues and a lack of empowerment.

Enterprise and Hertz, different companies with different ways
I often rent from Enterprise in Jacksonville Beach and the one thing you notice right away with Enterprise is that their employees are empowered.  They are empowered to do what it takes to ensure that their customer is happy.

I will happily return to Enterprise knowing that each employee there can own and solve the problems presented (and as a frequent Enterprise renter, I have had issues that they have done a great job resolving).  And I will feel sorry for the Hertz employees who appear to work in a bureaucratic environment that constrains their ability to solve problems and generate happy customers through rigid and senseless policies.  These policies probably cost way more than they can ever generate in revenue (think of  the people and effort involved in the “time dispute” process).

In my experience consulting with numerous companies on improving customer experiences, I suspect that these two companies are driven by two different “power cores” (term thanks to Jeanne Bliss) – the group or department in a company that wields the most power.

Finance can calculate the costs, but...
I have found companies with strict processes, poor customer experiences and little empowerment are typically ruled primarily by the finance department.  Finance can very accurately calculate exactly how much revenue they would “lose” if they easily credited customers a day’s rental for those who complained at the counter.  And they are really good at coming up with processes for making sure that they get their money and making sure it is hard for the organization to return money to customers.  What is difficult for the finance department to calculate, and perhaps even impossible for them to fathom, is the negative impact their thinking has on future revenue.  Fred Riechheld calls their way of generating revenue, “bad profits” – revenue that is potentially good for today, definitely really bad for tomorrow.

And while I eventually got my refund – communicated through an impersonal form email with no apology – of course I will never rent from Hertz again.

So, goodbye Hertz and all of your nice but constrained employees, and thank you Enterprise.

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.

For more, check out my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.

Please post a comment or question.

I welcome your questions and inquiries.  Please connect with me via
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

direct  904.466.1805  
text   415.515.6391 
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Deep Dive: Selecting Customer Experiences for a Mapping Pilot

target

Generating early wins is typically critical. When looking to pilot an experience or journey mapping workshop, look to experiences or processes that have the potential to demonstrate positive results:

  • With Finance – moving important financial needles
  • With employees – improving work life and getting positive internal word-of-mouth
  • With the customer experience team – generating a feeling of momentum and success
  • With the chief executive – giving him/her the business case for scaling and further investing in customer experience

There are a number of additional factors important in choosing a pilot or pilots:

  • Linear. Choose an experience that is linear in its execution. In other words, the experience follows a typical path and has a natural beginning and end.
  • Impacts revenue. Choose an experience that has the opportunity to deliver a significant ROI, especially one that drives revenue.
  • Engages supporters. Choose an experience that engages the departments and/or individuals that support CEM efforts and avoid experiences that rely strongly on departments headed by those in opposition.

Pilots to consider include onboarding new customers (B2B), the sales process (B2B, B2C), fulfillment (B2B, B2C), returns (B2B, B2C), complaints (B2B, B2C), and customer training/events (B2B).

Rule:  Choose your mapping pilot carefully.

Secret:  It is typically constructive to avoid call center calls as pilots. Incoming call center calls are typically not linear – they can branch off into many different directions. Achieve wins and build your mapping competence prior to tackling the call center.

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.

This post an excerpt from my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.

Please post a comment or question.

I welcome your questions and inquiries.  Please connect with me via
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Hank Brigman

Hank Brigman

President & TOUCHPOiNT Strategist
Customer Experience Strategies, Inc.
Qualified Member National Speakers Association
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Best-Selling Author of TOUCHPOiNT POWER

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