How These Two Companies Will Disrupt Their Industries With Tech and Customer Experience

disrupt

I love seeing industries get disrupted. I believe that there are no longer any barriers of entry to any industry. If you combined better technology and a superior customer experience you can compete.

Business is a competitive landscape and isn’t reserved for the weak or passive. For the past six years, I’ve studied Amazon, Apple, Zappos, Southwest and Westjet to understand how they have leveraged customer experience to become billion dollar brands.

Now, it’s time to uncover the next great brands that are going to disrupt industries that have stagnated for far too long.

I’m bullish and betting my chips on ZenPayroll and Silvercar.

The common theme with these companies are that they are leveraging two things to enter their industries: technology and a superior customer experience. It’s also worth noting that their competitors are massive companies that have owned their markets for decades.

I’m a huge advocate in the belief that there are no longer any barriers of entry into any industry. If you develop a better customer experience and combine it with advanced technology you can compete.

ZenPayroll:

zenpayroll-logo-300x120

Founders: Joshua Reeves (Founder, CEO & Co-Founder), Edward Kim (CTO & Co-Founder), Tomer London (CPO & Co-Founder).

Industry they are disrupting: payroll processing.

Why I’m bullish: I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some members of their team and have seen their product. Both their team and product are amazing! Plus, they are just as passionate about customer and employee experience as I am.

I have personally done business with their competitors and can confidently say that their process is much more superior. They are turning a system in business that isn’t the most sexy or glamorous and making it more efficient.

They have also gained the financial backing of Google Ventures, Salesforce, Aaron Levie (Box), Drew Houston (Dropbox), Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp) and others investors.

Recent news: They announced a partnership and integration with Freshbooks. They also recently raised another round of $20M from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and General Catalyst Ventures.

 

SilverCar:

silvercar

Founders: led by Austin Ventures

Industry they are disrupting: rental car industry.

Why I’m bullish: Have you ever rented a car before? It can be an awful customer experience. By downloading the Silvercar app, you are a few clicks away from driving away in a silver Audi A4 (which is the model of car they supply). They are well on their way to reinventing the rental car experience. The rental car industry was due for disruption and I’m confident that Silvercar will capture market share.

How good are they? They are one of the few companies that bring value to the QR code.

Recent news: they completed a $6M round in financing.

Who else has my attention?

  1. Shyp: Shyp is an app that allows you to snap a picture of a parcel you want shipped. One of their “Shyp Heros” arrives and takes care of the shipping process for you. My only concern with Shyp is the amount of volume they must do to have favourable shipping rates and influence margins. The reason they have caught my eye is because they are providing a solution to a headache. I mean, who genuinely likes visiting Fedex? To date, Shyp has raised $2.1M in funding and is led by Joshua Scott and Kevin Gibbon.
  2. Oscar: Based in New York, Oscar is setting out to disrupt the healthcare industry. For me, I don’t get excited to sign up, pay or renew my healthcare because it’s a very mundane process. If Oscar, led by Josh Kushner, can simplify this process they will be in a position to take market share away from other industry leaders. They have raised $40M in investments and poached talent from Google and Tumblr.

 

What companies do you think will start disrupting their industries because of technology and customer experience?

Build Trust and Sell Your Customers Anything

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO

While recently at Toronto’s Pearson airport, I read a Fast Company article on how Airbnb is going to expand on their end to end hospitality experience. By offering additional services to their home and apartment sharing service, Airbnb will be adding airport pickups, room cleaning and other services to complement their core business which will inevitably increase their revenue and value.

This lead me to think of other brands that began selling a single item who now sell us more than they originally advertised.

Amazon began their humble operations in the 1990’s selling us books out of a garage. A young, motivated Jeff Bezos lead his enterprise to a company that now, almost literally, sells us everything.

A more recent example is Uber: the transportation disruptor that offers a solution to a pain point which is the traditional taxi experience. Many of those that have used Uber have become addicted to their service and experience. Uber’s recent round of venture capital from Google Ventures and TPG at $258MM can only give us optimism that they will also inevitably expand their operations to offer other services.

Note: Something will happen with Uber and Google’s self-driving car. I can only imagine, and hope, that if I want my laundry delivered, I will use the Uber app and a self-driving car will deliver it to me without having to leave my home.

Now, a company offering additional services isn’t worth a blog post. The only reason these companies are able to offer other services to grow their business is because they have earned the trust of their customers with their flagship offering.

This lends itself to journalism as well. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher developed a loyalty with their readers by providing value when writing for the All Things D website. When they launched Re/code it was, from my perspective, an immediate success.

The customer experience coach and keynote speaker in me will tell you that the only way to build trust is by delivering an exceptional, consistent, predictable and memorable experience.

Having this trust gives you an advantage far beyond increased revenue. This leverage not only allows you to expand your business and add new verticals, but further puts you in a position of power against your competition. It erects barriers around your business.

When it comes to branding, it builds a sense of peace of mind with your customers that no branding expert or designer could ever create for you. It’s psychological.

Allow me to be bold (or least think I am) when I say this next statement:

You haven’t earned the right to cross or upsell your customers until you’ve built trust first.

When you’ve earned trust, you will have your customers eating out of the palm of your hand. Too many companies have customer acquisition backwards. Rather than hunting for new customers and revenue opportunities, emphasize on building trust first and watch your company grow organically with the customers you already have.

What is your company doing to build customer trust?

How to Turn a Complaining Customer Into an Asset

complaints

It is human nature to react when a customer complains about your service or product, particularly if the customer expresses anger, frustration, disappointment or hostility. I’ll cut right to the chase: effectively handling complaints requires most of us to shift our way of thinking. We need to set our egos aside and view a complaining customer as an opportunity to better understand our customer experience and be open to change.

Every company needs an effective system for dealing with complaints to ensure your customer service system is top notch. Sure, you may have a system in place, but is it helping improve your customer experience or simply putting out fires?

Ensuring your customer service team understands the difference between a complaint and a personal attack is the first priority. The customer almost always is complaining about a failed product or service, not the failure of the individual he is speaking to about the problem. Still, customers can be challenging to speak with, and downright unpleasant at times. How your customer service team responds, such as communicating the process they will undertake to resolve the complaint, should give the customer peace of mind and demonstrate that the organization genuinely cares about resolving complaints.

Another shift in thinking could be viewing complaints as positive – blessings in disguise – since they can illuminate where your service or product needs improvement. When a customer complains, thank them for bringing the matter to your attention and giving the company the opportunity to improve the product/service. Of course, you’re not likely to make a significant change to your product or service after just one complaint. However, complaint number one is a good time to start gathering more data month over month to see if other customers are saying the same thing. Listen to your customers! They are the end users and often know your service and product better than you do.

If a customer complains, have you lost them forever? Absolutely not! In fact, resolving your customer’s complaint quickly may earn you higher customer loyalty than if the service or product delivered correctly the first time. We can all relate to the experience of complaining to a company, but not having a timely response, or worse, having our complaint be rejected always reflects poorly on the brand. All that marketing you do to increase customer acquisition is wasted by not figuring out how to protect your brand and increase retention.

Ask yourself, “Does my company spend as much on retention as they do on acquisition?” I imagine that they don’t.

One missing system in most organizations is that there is no set service level agreement (SLA) to escalate and resolve complaints. Not having a SLA for this will result in a fragmented process that has no internal goal which ultimately affects your customer’s experience. Go out and set your SLA’s for complaint management.

One thing you do not want to do is simply reimburse or discount the customer who is complaining without taking any other actions. It’s easy to throw money at a problem and hope it goes away but this is not what your customers are looking for. They are looking for you to make things right in an operational way as well. Your customers are looking to hear what actions you will take next to ensure that it’s unlikely that the same issue will arise. Let the customer know what you are going to do about the matter along with the financial compensation they may be looking for.

“Mrs. Johnson, I greatly apologize for the inconvenience we have caused. As promised, I will be reimbursing you for the amount you suggested. Equally as important, I will be speaking with our customer service representative that provided the incorrect information to you as I feel there is a great learning and training opportunity here…”

Do this to not only give the customer peace of mind that you are doing your very best to ensure their concern doesn’t resurface, but to show them you would appreciate another chance to rebuild their trust. I can tell you first hand, customers love this!

Everyone wants to be heard. And we can all appreciate acknowledgement of a wrongdoing and a strong effort to make up for that mistake. So I encourage you to embrace complaints! Buried within them you may find your diamond in the rough: the areas where you need to re-evaluate your service or product to ensure you’re not only meeting customer expectations, but exceeding them.

As business professionals, we all recognize that we need to manage our customer complaints. But, when will be put as much effort into customer retention as we do acquisition? At my past employer, we were able to reduce system wide customer complaints, in a franchise model, by 33% in three months by creating a process which helped us understand our customer aversions.

Properly listening to customers negative feedback can make them an asset and help grow your customer intelligence.

Let’s ensure our expectations as consumers is aligned with what we deliver as professionals. In other words, if you’re going to demand that a company responds to your complaints immediately you better do the same within your business.

Complaint Resolution LLC: How to Exceed the Expectations of Your Customers and Employees

customer_complaint (1)

The other day an entrepreneur asked me this question:

How do I resolve a customer complaint when his version of events is wildly different from my frontline employee’s story? Must I always take the side of the customer? What about my employee’s word?

More often than not the go-to response to this particular issue is the customer is always right. However, your frontline employee who originally provided the customer with a product/service deserves to have his or her side considered and responded to also. It’s not acceptable to give in to customers who are always seeking reimbursements or discounts for services or products delivered, without ensuring your employees have a full understanding of your actions.

To make an accurate judgement on this question I suggest analyzing each situation through the following 3 steps:

Listen

Speak with your customer to understand the entire scope of their complaint. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that dig deep into the situation and be sure to remain neutral throughout your information- gathering. Then speak with the employee responsible for the initial customer interaction. If the concern involved multiple employees speaking with each of them individually will help you to connect the dots a lot easier as you take each account into consideration from the source. Your broad approach will likely show up any disconnects, thereby leading to a speedier resolution.

Learn

Examine your customer’s profile. Are they notorious for filing complaints? Do they have a history of demoralizing your staff? Or have they been a faithful, long-time customer with no prior instances of complaints or seeking reimbursements or discounts?

Then, do the same with your employees. Do they have a history of complaints from customers? Did they have a negative event in their life that day that may have resulted in a less than stellar customer interaction?

Answering these questions will clarify the drivers of the complaint and help to determine the resolution.

Conclude

With your due diligence with both customer and employee complete, you are prepared to take appropriate action to resolve the complaint. If you determine that the customer has a valid complaint which justifies a reimbursement or discount, immediately fulfill their request. Follow up with your employee to tell him why you have decided this course.

On the other hand, if you find that this customer is notorious for seeking unjustified reimbursements or discounts, or continuously hassling your employees with complaints, you may consider declining the customer’s request or possibly even firing them as a customer. Carefully explain to the customer why you have chosen to do this. Some may argue that declining the customers request goes against all customer experience best practices, however, as an entrepreneur you have standards by which you run your business effectively. Do not abuse those standards. You can live without one customer but you can’t live without your dedicated employees.

To support the LLC structure, set a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to have all complaints resolved within a set time frame. For example, “At Joe Smith’s Autobody, we strive to have all customer feedback addressed and resolved within one business days.”

Have you set your SLA for complaint management?

How to Avoid These Four Customer Loyalty Obstacles

obstacle

I don’t think I need to convince you of the importance of having loyal customers to support your business. Customer loyalty influences organic growth (repeat purchases and word of mouth marketing) which can be the most profitable way to grow a business. However, some companies may never achieve customer loyalty because of four key reasons.

1. Not accurately identifying your loyal customers

Who are your most loyal customers? You must be able to answer this question in order to better understand how to achieve true customer loyalty. Many businesses may have an idea who their most loyal customers are based on intuition but you need data to support this. Once you have identified who your supporters are, you can then begin to understand what their desires and motivations are.

2. Discounting doesn’t provide 100% loyalty

Your most loyal customers are supportive to your organization because of quality, not because of a discounted price. Often, customers will pay a premium for a superior customer experience rather than a bargain rate. Consumers that focus their attention on price can often be lured away by another company that is providing a lower price. The price game doesn’t earn true customer loyalty.

3. Trying to make everyone loyal is a fools game

You must accept the fact that not everyone will be loyal to your brand. Trying to make everyone loyal will test your endurance and may negatively effect your morale as you inevitably find that this isn’t possible. If you’re familiar with the Net Promoter System, customers who rate your service or product a 7-8 (passives) are often customers who aren’t loyal. Although, you always want to stay focused on your entire customer base, paying particular attention to detractors (those that give a score of 0-6) and promoters (9-10) will be more valuable to your organization because they highlight your strengths and your weaknesses.

4. Not being able to think long term 

Growing a foundation of customers who are genuinely loyal to your brand can take years. Those who are able to think long term will be able to make strategic decisions which will support their organizations growth for years to come. To achieve customer loyalty, make decisions in the short term that will positively effect your long term customer initiatives and programs.

How to Build a Business With a Customer Experience Focus

blueprint

Some of the world’s greatest brands decided to start with their customer experience first and work backwards. AppleSouthwestAmazon and Zappos all decided that they were going build their businesses with this strategic focus to drive their growth. I believe that any debate over their decision would be short lived as they have all reaped financial benefits operating behind this strategy.

When I speak with an entrepreneur that is starting his or her business, naturally I ask, “What is your customer experience plan?” Sometimes, I hear great answers and strategies. While other times I catch the entrepreneur off guard who may have no formal plan.

It’s not to say that if you don’t begin with this philosophy that all hope is lost. I have witnessed many companies that began with other core values and later implemented a stronger focus on customer experience have promising results. However, it’s much easier to begin with a customer experience focus rather than change course of action later in your business life.

Here are the three steps to implement from the beginning of your business:

1. Set your vision. No initiative is complete without your vision. As the leader of your organization, you must make your vision clear to your team and publicize it. What will it look like? What will it feel like? How will it operate?  You want to speak about it so often that you begin to sound like a broken record.

Tip: Frame it. Print your vision and frame it within your office. Another unique way to remind your employees to why they are there, to service your customers, is to put customer service related quotes on their screen saver or put decals up on the walls.

2. Hiring. Without employees that have bought into your vision, your initiative will not exceed your expectations. You need to have team members that are genuinely passionate about serving your customers. While this is a “no-brainer” the difficult part of this step is finding and interviewing the right people.

Tip: Have your interview with the candidate be heavily weighted on customer service to assess their current knowledge on what customer service really means. Create a questionnaire that they can fill out to determine their “service aptitude.”  Pass on candidates that don’t have this focus.

3. Train and Educate. Do your current employees know what customer service really is and what’s the ROI? Is your customer service training a program that only highlights the “do’s and don’ts of customer service”? Or, is it high level that outlines the “why” of customer service that educates on ROI, customer centricity, organic growth, customer loyalty etc. Ensure that everyone is aware that any decision or action that is taken should have the customers best interest in mind.

Tip: Ask you current employees if they know what customer centricity, organic growth and what the ROI of customer experience is. This will tell you if you have an exceptional training program. If they are left scratching their heads, you may need to address the way your training is being conducted.

I am passionate about customer experience because I believe in growing businesses organically and it’s very cost effective. The three steps I listed above have minimal costs to implement and can have the positive financial effects that Apple, Southwest, Amazon and Zappos have experienced.

If this strategy and focus worked well for these well known, respected brands it can work for you. Did I miss anything? Comment below if you feel that other steps are required.

This is Why TD Bank Is Winning at Social Service

td bank

On Monday, January 6th 2014, CBC News reported on a story about a couple in Kelowna, Canada who locked themselves into a car loan that included a 25% interest rate because of their financial situation. Of course, they were upset by the high interest rate and pointed the finger at TD Bank.

This post isn’t to start a conversation about the finance industry and interest rates. It’s to outline TD Bank’s (specifically their Canadian program) “smoke detector” approach to social media and the way they have humanized their business.

Shortly after the CBC segment aired, @TD_Canada tweeted this:

Td bank

Then this…

 td bank 2

I call it a “smoke detector approach” because they detected smoke and where there is smoke there’s a PR nightmare waiting to hurt your brand.

Rather than waiting for the social community to negatively tweet at them and manage the backlash they preemptively addressed the story. To further support their efforts, they added a link to a landing page where you could ask questions.

I loved this approach because they: acted fast, took action and offered a solution.

Furthermore, it’s my understanding that TD is contacting their financing partners to remind them of what their refinancing conditions are. This is another example of a company proactively taking action which helps protect their brand. I advocate that having an admired customer experience is a form of brand protection and growth.

In a world where seeing a company fail (see: United Break Guitars and Papa John’s) is much more entertaining than seeing one succeed, we should all acknowledge the companies that “get” social media.

I find that most businesses lack character. The one’s that are the most admired have figured out a way to humanize their business. I think TD Bank has done an awesome job at this and they do it very subtly. Case in point, look at their Twitter avatar.

td bank 3

Rather than having the feeling that you’re speaking to a faceless Twitter handle, TD has profiled their social team and humanized their customer engagement.

It boils down to this: the companies that genuinely care about their customers and think long term will be the ones that win.

What other companies are knocking it out of the park with their social media strategy?

See also: How Customer Trust Will Increase Your Social Media Sales (But Only If You’re Patient)

3 Traits of Employees You Need to Hire in 2014

dwight

I was extremely fortunate to work with such a great company that supported my growth both internally and externally. While at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I was able to find mentors that helped groom me which I believe expedited my professional development and set me up for success today.

Externally, I was given the opportunity to visit Zappos’ HQ in 2007 (before Zappos Insights existed and it became popular to do so) because I recognized I needed to be studying what they were doing so I could learn.

A large majority of employees ask, “What has my company done for me lately?” I believe that the onus is also on the individual to fuel their own growth and take the initiative to develop themselves. I believe that the following three characteristics are found in exceptional employees that go on to build companies that we admire and reach unprecedented career accomplishments.

1.       They take ownership of their own growth

I sat in a meeting one day and heard a manager say, “What is the company going to do this year to help us grow as employees?” While I believe the organization is also responsible for developing their people, employees need to take ownership of their own futures and stop relying on their bosses to single handily grow them.

Whether it’s finding a mentor or keeping up with the latest trends in their field, exceptional employees understand that combining the support they receive from their company and taking their own initiative will propel them to success.

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.” – Bruce Lee

2.       They understand that working 40 hours a week is a minimum, not a maximum

Kobe Bryant has built a reputation of having an insane work ethic and Marissa Mayer would often sleep at her desk while at Google. On a more personal level, my friend Dave works his tail off (60 hours/week) in the finance industry and is undoubtedly going to achieve success. If operating efficiently, it becomes a simple numbers game, if you have more hours in the day to accomplish your goals you will achieve success faster and long term growth.

Am I suggesting that if you work 40 hours/week that you won’t be successful? No.

However, there is a common theme among employees that work beyond the minimum, they all appear to be successful. I don’t believe in the “work smarter, not harder” saying. I think you need to be doing both to achieve massive results. Of course, don’t let this be a detriment to the relationship you have with your family and friends.

“Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.”  - Vince Lombardi

3.       They learn from those that have come before them

As a kid, I would play ice hockey pretending I was Steve Yzerman. I would study his every move and tried to replicate it while on the ice. Today is no different, from a far, I study Chip Conley, Jeff Bezos and Gary Vaynerchuk.

You are always a student, regardless of age or position, the day you stop learning is the day you start to die. All employees and entrepreneurs that want to accomplish big things need to learn from those that have come before them. By doing so, you can stop yourself from making the same mistakes and expedite the learning process.

Remember, a role model can also be a mentor. You may not have the face to face opportunity to be coached by them but if you follow them from a distance you can receive the same amount of value.

“If you want to successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.” – Anthony Robbins

Have you found other characteristics in current or past employees that went on to achieve great success?

You may also like: 4 Customer Service Questions You Must Be Asking When Hiring

How to Influence Your Boss to Adopt Net Promoter Score Without Pushback

Tony

One of the most popular ways to collect customer feedback is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). For those not familiar with it, visit this link to get an understanding of what it is. While it definitely has people who are opposed to it, I’m an advocate of it because I’ve seen it grow businesses firsthand and have operated successful programs.

Many of the business people I connect with believe Net Promoter Score would be great for their company but they don’t know how to bring it to their bosses attention and ask for their buy in.

This post will help you gather everything you need to approach your boss and have her adopt it in 2014.

1. Study, study, study

Before you begin the conversation with your boss, you need to have a deep understanding of the value NPS will bring to your business. I was first made aware of NPS while working at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? The following is an exact list of things I did to better educate myself on the system which eventually put me in a position to help other organizations launch it within their business.

I would estimate that over a six year period, I have put in 100′s (1000′s maybe) of hours studying NPS to put myself in a position to be an expert. Thankfully, you don’t need to put in that much time to bring it to your bosses attention to influence adoption.

2. Build your presentation

I’ve seen many NPS program fail because it didn’t have an “executive sponsor.” You must have a leader within the organization supporting you and your efforts. To ensure that you’re taken seriously, host a formal meeting with everyone in your organization that will be able to give NPS the green light. Of course, prior to calling a meeting, you need to ensure you have your presentation ready and are prepared to answer any questions. Here is a simple outline of how you can build your presentation.

  • Begin with WHAT

To start off your presentation, assume that no one in the room knows what NPS is. While some may, others may not. The great thing about NPS is that it’s extremely simple and easy to explain. Do not spend more than 60 seconds explaining what NPS is because you will lose your audiences attention.

Something that can be helpful is to include a one page PDF that serves as a high level explanation of NPS and include it within the meeting maker. This way, attendees can read a brief overview of what NPS is before attending the presentation.

Use one of the slides to share what companies are currently using NPS (Zappos, American Express, Costco etc) and include a testimonial from a recognizable business person. Here’s one from Tony Hsieh (Zappos – Founder, CEO) “We use NPS every day to make sure we are WOWing our customers and our employees.” This will definitely help grab your audiences attention.

  • Focus more on WHY than WHAT

This is a common sales technique. When selling a product, service, or in this case, NPS, you need to focus on why the company needs this system to be a stronger organization. If you’ve successfully studied NPS, you will know that all companies, regardless of size, need NPS in their business because it’s simple, actionable and provides “customer intelligence.”

It’s simple. One of the reasons I began advocating NPS is because everyone from the CEO down to the frontline employee can understand the calculation and methodologies. You don’t need to have a degree in statistics or MBA to comprehend it.

Externally, customers like it too because they don’t need to spend 5 or 10 minutes completing it which causes “survey fatigue” and low response rates. I’ve seen NPS survey response rates range from 25-65%.

It’s actionable. 

NPS is an amazing way to increase customer retention. When a customer rates you a 0-8, you must have a process in place to saves these customers. With the proper system in place you can set up alerts to make your organization aware when a customer have received poor service or aren’t happy with your product or service.

After deploying NPS, I coach companies to build a Complaint Resolution System to work hand in hand with NPS. These two programs working together allowed me to help a company reduce system wide customer complaints by 33% in three months.

It provides customer intelligence

Marketers who use NPS effectively love it because it tells them exactly why their customers use their service or product. Having this information increases a company’s “customer intelligence.” Along with hosting Customer Advisory Board, NPS is the best way to understand your customers behaviours and aversions.

Companies that leverage NPS effectively give themselves a massive competitive advantage over their competitors because they understand their customers behaviours better. I’m finding that most organizations have no idea why their customers buy off them. Instead, they use anecdotal or personal assumptions.

  • Explain the HOW

You can use many different channels of communication to collect customer feedback with NPS. The most popular ways are email, SMS (text), mobile and by phone (calling the customer). My personal preference is email and mobile because it’s much easier to scale.

A few things you will need to explain in your presentation is: who will be involved, what do we need and timeline.

Who will be involved: the point of this first meeting isn’t to finalize who will “own” NPS in your company. Your goal is to show that you have thought this through. You can provide multiple examples of who may be in the best position to lead the program, “I believe NPS would be best run by (department name) because this team has shown to deploy company wide programs very successfully. This person or department ultimately becomes the SPA (single point of accountability) and internal experts within the company.

What do we need: I’ve seen many companies launch NPS without the proper tools. I suggest that all companies build NPS handbooks that explains what NPS is and why the company adopted it (having your CEO or owner right a foreword works great). These handbooks work brilliantly for new employees to immerse themselves into the culture of your company. You will also need to be able to share all of the data (scores and customer comments) across the entire organization. If your company has an internal intranet, your SPA should be responsible for sharing the company’s score and actual customer comments on a regular basis. I’ve seen some companies mount flat screen tv’s around their office to showcase this.

Timeline: If you’re a small business and use Survey Monkey, you can be up and running in a week or two. If you’re a medium to large sized business that wants to purchase NPS software, it may take you a month or two. I would not recommend building the software yourself, it takes too much time and effort.

3. Be prepared to answer objections

As I mentioned earlier, there are many naysayers of NPS but I find that most of these people have never run a program before or have competing systems. Here are a few objections you need to be prepared to answer.

  • “NPS doesn’t allow you to take action.” This is completely false. I think that the founders of NPS did themselves a disservice by calling their first book “The Ultimate Question” because you need to be asking two questions. First, “on a scale from 0-10 where 10 is absolutely and 0 is absolutely not, how likely is it that you would refer [our company] to a friend of colleague?” The second question is dependent on the answer to the first question. If the customer rates you 0-8 (detractor or passive) you ask, “What is it that [our company] needs to do to earn a better recommendation?” If the customer is a promoter (scores 9-10) ask, “What is it that [our company] does exceptional well to earn your recommendation?” This is where you collect the data, categorize it after it’s been received and understand your strengths and customer aversions.
  • “Just because your customer says they will recommend you doesn’t mean that they will or have.” I agree with this statement but I believe that you need to get creative. I recently helped an organization overcome this obstacle by leveraging promotion codes. We surveyed their customers via email and launched something called “social sharing.” When a customers rated the company a 9 or 10, we would send them to a landing page that allowed them to leverage the Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin API. By leveraging these API’s, we created a message that said, “I love [company] and I think you will too” and attached a link to the companies website with unique promo code. When one of the customers friends or followers saw this post on their Facebook wall or Twitter feed they could click on it and be directed to the companies website. If the referred customer decided to buy from the website the promo code allowed the company to track these referrals and new customers. Like I explained, you need to get creative, NPS isn’t without its faults (like other survey methods).
  • “NPS sounds great but we are too busy right now.” The key to overcoming this objection is to get it on your yearly strategic plan or task list so it does get priority. Another rebuttal to this is to say, “What’s more important than listening to our customers? They are the ones who pay us our salaries and have a roof over our heads.”

As I mentioned before, I’m a HUGE fan of Net Promoter Score because I’ve seen it grow businesses and witnessed entire companies rally behind it with impressive results. If you’re the individual who successfully spearheads NPS within your company you will leave a lasting legacy.

Do you have any questions about Net Promoter Score? If so, comment below or email me.

You may also like: 4 Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Fill Out Your Survey (Without Incentives)

 

 

4 Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Fill Out Your Survey (Without Incentives)

survey

Some companies don’t use customer surveys within their business for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that they don’t believe their customers will respond.

Your customers aren’t responding because you’re not putting enough effort into it. Here are four small tweaks you need to make to immediately increase your customer survey response rates.

  1. More visibility: If you ask for in-store feedback then put the survey box in a high traffic area. Please understand I think all programs should be digital, not via a comment box, but I recognize some companies aren’t there yet. If you ask for feedback through email then change your email subject line. Make it fun and eye catching. Having “Survey: We Value Your Feedback” as your subject line will get you next to nothing.
  2. Advance warning: Leverage your frontline employees to plant the seed with the customer early in the relationship to make them aware that you will be asking for feedback. Let the customer know that you desperately need this feedback to continue delivering an amazing customer experience or to fix what’s broken.
  3. Timing: Make sure you are asking for feedback proactively and at the right time. For companies that operate a face to face business, try and collect as many email address and telephone numbers as possible. Whether you ask for feedback in person, phone or email you should aim to have the survey completed shortly after the customer experience. Doing this will allow you to recognize amazing customer service throughout your company and handle customer complaints immediately.
  4. Mobile: If you’re anything like me, I use my mobile phone for nearly everything including responding to surveys. Ensure that your survey is mobile responsive to make it an easy user experience for your customers.

Tip: For companies that are business to business survey your customers once a quarter or twice a year.

Double tip: In the beginning, don’t give out incentives to customers to fill out your survey. You want feedback from customers who are genuinely trying to help you not ones that are only trying to help themselves.

Triple tip: Use Net Promoter Score for all your customer survey needs.

Question: What one thing could you tweak to your current feedback process to increase response rates?

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