In the old days, shop owners were on a first-name basis with their customers. Of course, the owners cultivated these relationships within their communities for years, allowing for the intimacy that so many companies aspire to today.
It's tough to achieve—top leaders often drift further away from the front lines as a company grows. But technology is changing all that. Now companies are harnessing their customer data to form much deeper relationships at huge scale.
In this short episode, we look at these new opportunities in relationship building and how firms of the future will need to adapt to take advantage of them.
If you're an angry customer, the last thing you want is another generic offer from the company that has raised your ire. These missteps can irreparably damage a relationship.
But companies that know how to collect, analyze and act on customer data will learn to avoid these situations, says my colleague Tom Springer, who leads Bain's Advanced Analytics practice. They'll use that data to calibrate their offers based on a customer's level of advocacy, allowing them to expand relationships with promoters and avoid missteps that might leave detractors feeling exploited.
Most companies have vast amounts of customer data—such as the recency, frequency and value of purchases, as well as the number of service calls—but few are using it to its deepen those relationships. Tom is helping companies harness Big Data in ways we couldn't imagine 10 years ago, creating new opportunities to build loyalty.
Employees who are sincerely happy almost always provide a better customer experience. But what can companies do to make a meaningful difference in how employees feel about their work?
Shawn Achor, The New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness, says that companies can do a lot. In fact, sometimes the solutions are as simple as encouraging social interaction and praise.
In this episode, Shawn discusses the connection between happiness and success, and his work with Fortune 100 companies that want to increase employee engagement.
Long before social media and online surveys, shopkeepers relied on a simple measure of customer sentiment: whether their customers were smiling.
In this short episode, Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey share the story behind the Net Promoter System's signature smiley face icons, and discuss how one number can become a powerful learning tool for inspiring lasting change.
Do you shop online differently if the purchase involves clicking buttons vs. dragging an item into cart? Does a product search feel more fulfilling if it forces you to scroll through a vast trove of options? Do your survey responses change if the scale starts on the left or the right?
These are the questions that Jonathan Levav, associate professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, explores. His research looks at the factors that influence consumers’ choices and judgment, such as biomechanics, context cues and product attributes.
In this episode, Jonathan discusses his latest research projects and how businesses are increasingly turning to experimental psychology and behavioral economics for answers.
One of the great philosophers said that a person who sets out to be happy probably won't achieve his goal. On the other hand, if a person sets out to help others and make the world a better place, he will probably end up happy.
The same logic applies to companies that set the vague goal of maximizing shareholder value, according to Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. In reality, successful companies create products their customers want and provide exceptional service—and increase shareholder value in the process.
Roger, who's the author of 10 books, including Getting Beyond Better and Playing to Win, and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, shares his business philosophies in this episode.
By focusing on a single question, the Net Promoter System eliminates unnecessary complexity. Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld, inventor of the Net Promoter Score, explain the origins of the "likelihood to recommend" question.
Steve Jobs. Charles Schwab. Howard Schultz. They all spotted an unmet customer need and made it their mission to meet it. They also founded iconic companies that started out as disruptors only to struggle as bureaucracy and distraction set in. In each case, it took the founder’s return to get the company back on track.
It’s a story that will be played out again and again in business. But it doesn’t have to.
According to Bain Partner Chris Zook, these companies have battled the predictable crises of growth. In The Founder’s Mentality, a new book Chris cowrote with Bain's James Allen, Chris talks about how companies can hold on to the spirit of their founders as they grow. No surprise: It requires companies to focus on their customers. He recently joined me on the podcast.
Rob Markey discusses how he became a Net Promoter convert with Fred Reichheld, inventor of the Net Promoter Score.
Millennium Mat has developed a unique culture in which employees make production decisions for their teams and share in the financial benefits of their success. The leaders of these teams are called CEOs and they make all of the hiring and production decisions. Their employees, whom Millennium calls partners, are expected to bring forth their performance-improving ideas.
Companies of all sizes and in all industries could learn a lot from Millennium’s approach, which has propelled its business to almost 40 countries.
In this episode, Millennium Mat’s founder Ian Malpass discusses what it takes to forge a culture that’s truly self-directing and self-correcting.
Large companies live and die by traditional financial forecasts—earnings estimates, sales targets and so forth. After all, it’s how the market measures their value and whether they’re worthy of investment.
The intense pressures to meet these goals can cause some executives to make short-term cuts that can undermine their long-term strategies. Some would argue that we need new gauges of corporate strength. The Net Promoter Score is a very powerful measure, but so is another: customer lifetime value. This measure helps companies identify their most valuable customers and build those relationships.
Peter Fader, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, returns to the Net Promoter System Podcast to discuss the importance of measuring customer lifetime value. He recently founded a company called Zodiac that specializes in estimating customer value.
The Net Promoter System's "outer loop" is used to prioritize and address problems that can't be resolved by individuals or small teams. Rob Markey discusses why a robust, rigorous and transparent "outer loop" is essential to a solid Net Promoter System in this short episode.
Read more: The Net Promoter System's Outer Loop
A lot of companies find themselves a situation in which their competitors are increasingly adding value to their products, while they’re struggling to figure out which features and services might move the needle with customers. The leaders of these companies aren’t sure what level of service will capture more of their market—or if they should even focus on service.
It's the classic “how to play/where to win” question. Companies can't invest in everything. To succeed, they must distinguish themselves from competitors. Often this means meeting customers' deepest needs—aspirations they might not even be aware of.
Bain Partner Eric Almquist has spent much of his career researching these questions. In this episode, he discusses the 30 elements of value that draw customers most to a product or service. Companies that fulfill more of these needs have customers who are more loyal.
Does the Net Promoter Score gauge a customer's broader relationship with a company or just the customer's most recent experience? Or both? Who should make follow-up calls to customers?
Rob Markey addresses these questions and more in this episode.