Are you interested in leveraging customer feedback to help your organization improve customer loyalty?
As a “customer” do you want companies to improve the experience you have with them?
There are so many different names for our body of work. While the members of this “loyalty” profession understand the nuanced differences in the words we use, I suspect the various labels that refer to *largely* the same thing only help to perpetuate misunderstandings in our end-audience.
Please take a moment to respond to this poll. You’ll see results when you respond, and we’ll also provide full results next week.
Waypoint Group will be at VoC-Fusion, billed as “The World’s Largest Voice-of-Customer Event.” The conference promises to be extremely useful for anyone running a customer feedback/loyalty program, not to mention the invaluable networking opportunities that will take place.
We’re also very pleased that Waypoint Group was asked to create and lead the “Insights to Action” workshop as part of VoC Certification, which will also be held at this event. The Certification will prove invaluable through a series of five well designed and highly engaging courses, where you will learn best practices in loyalty program design and VOC program implementation. Our portion of the Certification will cover best practices in data gathering techniques, analysis (including financial linkage, key driver, and critical statistical methods) and the best ways to turn insights into action.
We hope to see you there!
Earlier this week Temkin Group, a customer experience research firm, released a very interesting report titled, “Customer Experience Expectations and Plans for 2012.” The research was conducted in November and December of 2011 with results from 210 respondents from companies of more that $500 million or more in annual revenues. Focusing on their company’s customer experience results and future plans, there were a few very interesting nuggets in there that they have kindly permitted me to share here.
1. Company’s Customer Experience efforts underperform relative to their plans. Since this was an update of a study that was also conducted in 2010 we see that there was a significant negative-gap in what companies planned to achieve in 2011, vs. what they reported they actually achieved a year later.
2. Most companies seem to be focused on measuring, not improving. The majority of the respondents rate themselves as excellent or good in the area of customer insight & analytics. But the area rated lowest is “Employee communications and engagement.” Driving improvement in the customer experience REQUIRES that employees – especially those on the “font line” that are directly involved critical customer-touchpoints – be bought-in and engaged in the effort. By the way, not surprisingly the respondents here also report that their performance in actually running a “VoC Program” fell year-over-year.
I can’t help but to reference Stephen Covey, who famously tells us to “begin with the end in mind.” There’s no point in churning out analysis and reports without a clear set of business objectives, success measurements, and roadmap. Look for models from other companies that have done this successfully (here’s one or two to get started). The take-away in my mind is simple: Don’t hide behind data – get out and talk to people and use your data to tell a powerful business story.
Earlier today I had the opportunity to be a guest on Blogtalk Radio to discuss “Trustworthy Data.” As this is such a meaty topic and we had only 15 minutes, this was the first session on acquiring and acting on actionable customer insights. In today’s session we defined “Trustworthy data,” discussed how VoC Practitioners can effectively drive improvement with this critical component, and how VoC/customer-feedback/Net Promoter programs can leverage their charter to drive profitable growth for their company.
The direct link to the recording is at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/allegiance/2012/01/27/customer-feedback-the-value-of-trustworthy-data
In future discussions we’re planning to continue with a focus on
- Defining “trustworthy data,” from practices in statistics (such as statistical significance and margin-of-error) to revenue contribution, coverage, and response
- Deriving importance
- Making the improvement (growth) happen
BTW, all of these topics will be addressed in detail at VoC Fusion– the World’s Largest Voice-of-Customer event – held in Las Vegas in May. Will you be able to attend?
We just completed a short webinar with our friends at TrueInfluence that was not only well-attended but also had excellent “Question & Answer” participation toward the end. It’s titled, “3 Steps to Acquiring New Sales-Ready Leads Faster than Ever Before” and discussed how to leverage your customer as assets to create new sales-ready leads faster than ever before. You can find it here:
The webinar helped the audience in understanding the innovative potential with Net Promoter that has proven to drive new opportunities for sales teams –producing conversion rates in excess of 30%. We also discussed:
- Where to find these opportunities: The new ‘targeting’ method
- How to engage them
- How to get started and how fast you will see results
We’d certainly appreciate any feedback / thoughts around these ideas and the published results, especially from fellow B2B Marketers!
I used to be a proud VP Marketing. These days ‘marketing’ seems to be all about spamming people with as much noise as possible. Many Marketing organizations plod along with ~5% open rates, ~3% conversion rates, and little-to-no ability to report the real business value (results) they bring to the company. And then they complain that Sales doesn’t take action on the great leads they throw over the wall.
In other words, times have changed yet most Marketing organizations haven’t.
So when I write “Marketing is Dead” I’m not saying that the marketing discipline is no longer needed. Marketing is more important than ever exactly because of all that noise and the need to get noticed. Marketing needs to evolve. How?
Ask yourself 2 questions:
- Where do the best actionable leads come from?
- What is my own process when I buy something?
For most business, the answer to both these questions is essentially the same: The best “leads” come from personal referrals and references. Likewise, when I buy I talk to colleagues that I trust.
So the obvious key is to create an army of Promoters. Get people (customers and partners) talking positively about your business. I was fortunate to participate in a Net Promoter program in which the client executives wanted to understand how their Customer “Insights-to-Action” program was helping the field. Here’s the summary from 800 sales people after just 3 months:
Enhanced Customer Relationship
Met New Contacts:
Identified New Late-Stage Sales Opportunities:
I’m not aware of any other marketing campaign that resulted in a 29% direct-success rate. And that doesn’t even count the “soft” side whereby Sales was able to increase their wallet-share in key accounts and generate more references and referrals.
Marketing needs to take the lead in creating, developing, and engaging Promoters – people that love the company and speak to their friends and colleagues about their experiences. How?
- First, prepare mentally. Recognize that unless you personally are paying the bills your own voice and opinions don’t matter. Don’t be a Hippo (HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion). Your customers matter more. Then, before you start, commit to action and not just measurement.
- Now begin by identifying customers that are “with” you and those that aren’t. Whether you use the Net Promoter model or not, segmenting customers into those that are “with” you and those that aren’t can only lead to good things… if Marketing is prepared to act.
- Engage those customer contacts that are “with” you. Find out what they like and why, what they’d like to see improved and why, and what they know about their industry (and who they know) that can help your firm.
- Open dialogs with the folks that aren’t “with” you. Find out Why? You’ll discover that the problem here generally isn’t with Sales or Support or Services or Product – it’s most often the interplay with all of them: gaps in customer experience that are a result of missing customer expectations. Marketing, Sales, and Competition (industry dynamics) set expectations. Know how the company delivers on those expectations and understand where and why
expectations are missed.
- Act. Use customer quotes and hard evidence to amplify the voice of the customer so everyone can hear exactly what you are hearing. Quantify the benefit (here are several posts on ROI) of addressing those gaps, and work collaboratively within the company to create more Promoters.
You can swing for the fences, trying for that 3% conversion rate by sending 10,000 emails that lead to 3 new deals one year later. Or you can face facts that you win customers over one at a time, and can be a part of the team that wins 15 new deals in 3 to 6 months.
Which metric would you like to report:
1. I sent 1000 emails to prospects, which led to 30 new names that we can contact.
2. I identified 30 Promoters that will help us with references and referrals.
3. I helped engage 30 Promoters that enabled the company close 15 new deals worth $3.2 million.
I hope someone can help me to understand why Marketing doesn’t get more involved in creating and engaging Promoters. Why isn’t it part of Marketing’s job to help with that?