Archive for the ‘Customer Satisfaction Research’ Category
In this week’s Business Surgery, Julia Cupman highlights that customers in loyalty programs are not necessarily loyal. Although it is relatively easy to reward the advocates of a brand, the big challenge comes with addressing the detractors, especially before they can cause damage.
On a flight to Chicago last week, a colleague moaned to me, asking “Why do we always have to fly United?” Of course, there are lots of other airlines that will get us to Chicago and back, but United has certainly locked me in with its loyalty program, in that I’ll take almost any opportunity to add miles to my MileagePlus account.
While this might seem a contradiction, customers in loyalty programs are not necessarily loyal. True loyalty should reflect only customers who are strong advocates of a brand, which is certainly not the case for all loyalty card holders. In spite of my frequent flying with United and apparent loyalty to the airline, many of my colleagues and family know only too well about my negative views on United, especially during its merger with Continental. I – like millions of other customers – won’t forget the negative experiences for some time yet, irrespective of United having improved its customer service in the past few months.
When a company grows so large that customers are mere numbers in a database, it’s possible to lose sight of the importance each customer plays. Indeed, United flies over 140 million scheduled passengers a year, so why bother about a particular disgruntled customer?
Companies are, however, increasingly receiving a harsh wake-up call as the web has made it easy for negative word of mouth to spread like wildfire. Every day, 400 million Tweets, 534 million Facebook updates and 2 million blog posts are generated worldwide. This gives a dissatisfied customer every opportunity to communicate a negative experience to the masses – and frighteningly quickly.
Back in 2009, Canadian musician Dave Carroll trusted his $3,500 guitar with United baggage handlers, only to arrive in Chicago to find the instrument of his career smashed into smithereens. Furious at United’s denial of responsibility, Carroll created a song about his experience, singing that he “alerted three employees who showed complete indifference”. The song was uploaded onto the internet, received one million hits in just four days, and has been viewed more than 12 million times to date. Clearly the impact of one seemingly small negative customer experience should not be underestimated.
While companies must continue to acknowledge and reward the customers who are truly loyal, they should also make every effort to address the detractors out there who are spreading negative word of mouth. Interestingly, and as proven in market research, successful problem resolution is one of the biggest drivers of overall satisfaction and loyalty, but disgruntled customers require speedy treatment in order to prevent their dissatisfaction from going viral.
To learn about B2B International’s real time promoter and detractor alert service (a part of our customer satisfaction and loyalty research offering), please call to speak to one of our customer loyalty experts.
More and more clients are coming to us at an early stage in the creation of a research brief to get our thoughts not only on how we can help research the problem but also to get our help and backing to get buy-in to the project from inside and help fight the internal bureaucracy. If you try and battle the red tape you will get nowhere. Instead, follow these 4 simple rules to get your research project off the ground and you will stand a greater chance of business success:
• Go against the path of least resistance. Find out who is bought in to your way of thinking and then get them onside.
• Use the resources that are close to hand. Don’t go to many lengths to get a large budget straight away. Instead, use people you know, desk research and other resources/budget that you have to help you get the wheels in motion and any evidence you may need to move to the next level.
• Secure only the commitment you need for the short term. Don’t try to get the board’s buy-in from the get-go. Instead make sure that everyone is clear to what you are trying to achieve and then get the least amount of commitment you need to take your project to the next stage.
• Move quickly. Most good ideas stall because they don’t have the necessary momentum. Put your all behind the project or it will die and atrophy.
To find out how B2B International can help your organisation, contact one of our international offices http://www.b2binternational.com/contact-b2b/ or find out about what is important when putting a research brief together http://www.b2binternational.com/publications/articles/market-research-brief/
This week Peter Mullarkey discusses the simple benefit in listening to improve customer service.
One of life’s biggest frustrations is being made to wait. This may occur when a friend runs late, or the online delivery scheduled for the morning eventually arrives after supper, but for me the most frustrating wait is for public transport.
You rely on a team of people to assist you to your destination and this lack of control can start to boil over when told of a delay or, even worse, a cancellation. So, frustration for me reached boiling point when travelling back from Edinburgh recently with a colleague: We were informed of a two hour delay because of a broken down plane and our only real choice, while stuck on the air side of the airport, was to sit in the café and discuss the day’s meeting while checking and responding to emails. I went up to the busy counter to order a cappuccino and a latte, which were swiftly delivered to the table.
An hour into our wait, the drinks were empty and we needed more, so up to the counter again I went. It was still bustling with activity, but when I heard “would you like the same again?” I was taken aback at their ability to remember what I had ordered an hour ago since at least 60 more orders would have passed through in that time. It was a response I might have expected in my local hostelry, but not in an airport café. This listening and repeating exercise really impressed me. It was simple but also personal, and overall gave a positive customer experience that didn’t cost any extra to deliver. People are always asking about what added value they can receive and top of the list should always be listening and understanding.
These values were echoed in a recent service story from Levanter in which they outlined 12 simple tips that can significantly improve your ability to listen to your internal and external customers:
1. Acknowledge the enormous power and benefits that stem from carefully listening to others.
2. When the customer talks, stop doing whatever you are doing.
3. Stay 100% focused on the customer. Do not allow yourself to be distracted.
4. If you face the customer in person, establish frequent eye-contact, but without making him feel uncomfortable.
5. If you deal with the customer over the phone, close your eyes or focus them on a fixed spot.
6. While the customer is talking, write down key words in a sheet of paper. This will help you retain the main ideas.
7. Never interrupt a customer! Be cautious and let him finish talking.
8. Keep your emotions in check. Sometimes we don’t like what we are told, but if you get carried away, your focus will shift from what’s most important: the customer’s feelings.
9. Don’t jump to conclusions until you have listened to everything the customer had to say.
10. Read the customer’s body language and tone of voice. Sometimes they speak louder than words.
11. If something is not well understood, ask the customer to repeat it.
12. Rephrase and double check with the customer.
First, you must choose a distinctive value proposition. Which needs will you serve, which customers, at what relative price? Have you staked out a positioning that’s different from rivals?
Second, and far less intuitive, you must choose to tailor your activities to that value proposition. Competitive advantage lies in the activities, in choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities than rivals. These ultimately are the choices that result in a company’s ability to charge premium prices or to operate at lower cost. (Remember, we’re talking about quantifiable performance.)
The third test of strategy, making trade-offs, may well be the hardest. It means accepting limits — saying no to some customers, for example, so that you can better serve others. Porter explains why trade-offs are an important source of profitability differences among rivals, and why trade-offs make it difficult for rivals to copy what you do without compromising their own strategies. The essence of strategy, says Porter, is choosing what not to do.
Fit is the fourth test. Great strategies are like complex systems in which all of the parts fit together seamlessly. Each thing you’ve chosen to do amplifies the value of the other things you do. That’s how fit improves the bottom line. It also enhances sustainability. Says Porter, “Fit locks out imitators by creating a chain that is as strong as its strongest link.”
Continuity is strategy’s fifth test. While managers are often berated for changing too slowly and too little, it is also possible to change too much, and in the wrong ways. Faced with the latest New Thing, managers must choose whether to embrace it or not. Continuity of strategy helps companies to make good choices about whether and how to change in the face of turbulence. Good choices will strengthen tailoring, sharpen trade-offs, and enhance fit.
Whether it is competitive advantage, the value chain, five forces, industry structure or differentiation, Michael Porter’s frameworks are the foundation. If you want to understand how companies achieve and sustain competitive success then buy this latest book from Harvard Business School called ‘Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy’
Paul Hague this week advocates a simple, new metric to measure value.
In less than 10 years, the NPS or Net Promoter Score has become familiar jargon in business boardrooms. It is a single metric, a golf handicap score, that leaders can easily understand and which they can use to ruthlessly drive their businesses.
The Net Promoter Score is a measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty and who can deny that these two factors are crucial to the success of any business. It is easy to understand and the fact that it requires a simple calculation gives it a sort of scientific kudos.
Let us remind ourselves what the Net Promoter Score is. We ask customers one simple question – “How likely is it that you would recommend COMPANY X to a friend or colleague?” The response is recorded on a scale from 0 to 10 and the percentage of companies giving a score of 6 or less is subtracted from the percentage of companies giving a score of 9 or 10. Those in the middle ground giving scores of 7 or 8are ignored.
However, the NPS is not without its deficiencies.
We think that the NPS is a good metric but we also recognise that it is dangerous to drive a company on this number alone. The NPS does not measure the value that people attribute to a brand and this must be one of the most important metrics of all.
Towards this end we have developed a measure which is fast gaining ground. It is called the Net Value Score or NVS and it measures the value that people attach to a brand or a supplier. Pat Kenny, Vice President Of Corporate Marketing at PPG Industries, said the following about the NVS:
To arrive at the Net Value Score, one simple question needs to be asked:
Using answers to the question, the following steps result in the computation of the NVS:
Calculating The Net Value Score
For more information on the Net Value Score, visit http://www.netvaluescore.com/