What do customers really want when they buy a product? Some benefits are fairly obvious—convenience and quality, for example.
But some customers, even those in business-to-business (B2B) markets, are seeking far more from their purchases—hope, self-actualization and motivation.
Bain Partner Eric Almquist returns to the Net Promoter System Podcast to discuss developments in his Elements of Value framework and how companies are using it. Eric introduced his framework, which draws on themes from psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” last year in Harvard Business Review. In recent months, he has been expanding the framework to consider the specialized needs of companies in B2B markets.
When faced with a scrappy challenger, it's not hard for established brands to lose sight of their core customers, especially if they're in a highly competitive market.
These situations usually arise when an established brand starts to lose market share to a buzzworthy upstart. When that happens, a company's leaders might debate whether they should change course to chase a new competitor or try to reconnect with the brand's base.
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO of the indoor cycling company Flywheel Sports, knows this scenario well. More than five years ago, she helped turn around PepsiCo's multibillion-dollar Gatorade brand when she was president of the sports drink's division. She went on to serve as president of the high-end gym operator Equinox before taking the helm at Flywheel Sports.
Sarah, who's also the author of Extreme You: Step Up, Stand Out, Kick Ass. Repeat, shares her experiences in this episode, including her views on what it takes to connect with customers.
What if a company wants to adopt the Net Promoter System, but lacks the resources and time to fully implement each aspect of the framework? Is something better than nothing?
In this episode, Rob Markey welcomes back Maurice FitzGerald, the retired vice president of customer experience at HP Software and author of Net Promoter—Implementing the System. Together, Rob and Maurice will tackle this question and others submitted by members of the Net Promoter System Forum on LinkedIn, a group for Net Promoter practitioners that Maurice manages.
The Net Promoter System continues to evolve and improve based on the experience of thousands of companies. Maurice and Rob reverse their roles in this episode, allowing Rob to share the latest thinking on critical Net Promoter issues, such as best practices for questions and tactics for collecting deeper feedback from business-to-business companies.
Telecom executives are under pressure from their customers, shareholders and other stakeholders to become more digital, to exploit the new technologies and opportunities that will enable them to deliver more services and operate more efﬁciently.
Some companies approach their digital transformation as a series of boxes to be ticked: mobile apps, better web services, more online transactions. But these companies are missing out on an opportunity to reinvent themselves. The most forward-looking executives will take advantage of this pressure not merely to digitalize their companies, but to deliver remarkably better experiences for customers.
In this episode, host Rob Markey talks to Bain Partner Frederic Debruyne. As head of Bain’s Telecommunications practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Fred has been helping companies tap digital technology to radically simplify their customer experience, using Bain’s Simple & Digital approach.
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.
Why does the Net Promoter scale go from zero to 10? Why is passive not the same as neutral? Rob Markey answers these questions and others in this episode.
The goal of the Net Promoter System is to create a culture that encourages employees to bring energy and creativity to their jobs.
Developing that kind of culture requires inspiring leaders. We’ve all seen those people who seem born to be leaders. They have an uncanny knack for motivating the people around them. They show gratitude and connect with people in authentic ways.
You might chalk it up to charisma or a rare innate gift. While that might be true, it’s possible that they studied their own behavior and learned how to mobilize the best qualities of their personality.
In this episode, Rob Markey talks to Bain Partner Mark Horwitch, who has been studying what makes a leader inspiring. He says it comes down to 33 qualities. Most of us have some of them, but none of us have all of them. He says that when we know our strengths, we can develop them into true leadership assets.
Learn more: How Leaders Inspire: Cracking the Code
It’s a question just about every manager wrestles with: How do I get my employees to do what I want them to do? How do I get them to be more empathetic to customers? To take feedback and make meaningful changes?
Obviously, fair pay is essential, but there’s far more to it. After all, motivating people requires tapping into deep emotional needs for autonomy, purpose and affiliation.
In this episode, Rob Markey talks to Daniel Pink, author of the 2011 best-seller Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In the book, Daniel breaks down the scientific research on motivation and explains why simple carrot-and-stick approaches rarely result in the behaviors that companies want.
Recommended reading: Your Best Employees Work for Love, Not Money
The Net Promoter Score is a simple measure, but building a process and culture that results in deep customer relationships can be very complex. In this episode, Rob Markey answers listeners' questions on everything from competitive benchmarks to best practices for following up with customers.
The Net Promoter System has a mechanism called the inner loop that helps employees of all kinds get real-time feedback directly from customers. The feedback is usually positive—most employees do their job pretty well—so people typically become more engaged and enthusiastic. The occasional criticism or complaint about a specific interaction or decision can help individual employees and the organization learn to do their jobs better.
The challenge is to set up the inner loop in the right way, so that it reinforces learning rather than undermining it.
In this short episode, Rob Markey discusses how the inner loop speeds learning.
The best companies--loyalty leaders that grow profitably--do things to teach their employees to do their jobs better. In fact, the Net Promoter System was designed to help companies facilitate and accelerate that individual learning. The system's inner loop and huddle play important roles in encouraging feedback and coaching so that employees can serve customers better and contribute to the mission of the organization.
Some people think that developing deep expertise simply requires time and practice, but there's more to it.
Anders Ericsson, coauthor of the new book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, and his team have deconstructed what it takes to become a true expert in a variety of fields. What they've discovered has direct application to any company.
What qualities and experiences make for a successful chief advocacy officer? Not just anyone will do, regardless of how bright and ambitious he or she may seem to be.
The best CAOs aren’t always the people you might think of first, and they aren’t always working in predictable roles. But one thing is for sure: It's important to choose someone who has the respect of the organization's leaders.
In this short episode, Rob Markey discusses some critical considerations for companies that are choosing a CAO.
Learn more: Who Should Run Your Net promoter System?