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
The team huddle is the part of the Net Promoter System that connects the inner loop to the outer loop. Rob Markey discusses why regular get-togethers—often daily or weekly—are a critical element of the system.
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?
Ride-hailing companies disrupted the traditional taxi and limo industry by offering unprecedented convenience. But less has been said about the customer experience at these fast-growing companies, which typically allow customers and drivers to rate their interactions. After all, these companies rely on thousands of independent drivers in markets across the country.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mary Winfield, vice president of customer experience and trust at Lyft. She says that her company strives to create a culture of respect with drivers that empowers them to make authentic connections with passengers. The company does that by offering services that help drivers get paid quickly and resolve problems faster. Mary also makes time in her schedule to interact with customers and drivers. She shares more of Lyft's service philosophies in this episode.
In this short episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast, Rob Markey explains how a customer advocacy office, or CAO, can be a focal point for learning about—and improving—the customer experience.
A customer advocacy office can serve as the project management office that coordinates product development, marketing and other functional groups in the organization to focus on the customer experience. Net Promoter provides the methodology and the tools; the CAO is the arm of management that puts the methods and tools to work.
Most companies that serve other companies solicit feedback, often in the form of quarterly or semiannual satisfaction surveys.
The Net Promoter System in a B2B setting also solicits feedback from customers. But that’s where the similarity to conventional methodologies ends. This system’s twin goals are to foster customer engagement and build strong client relationships. It isn’t so much a survey method as a means of facilitating relationship-enhancing conversations. It helps sales reps and account managers get involved in solving customers’ problems. It shows marketers and product designers and service engineers ways to make the customer’s experience better. The feedback it provides is continuous: It offers granular insights into what is troubling or delighting any given customer at any given time.
In this short episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast, Rob Markey discusses how the system can facilitate relationship-enhancing conversations.
Learn more: Get Real Feedback from Your B2B Customers
How do you get the best out of employees? Scripted interactions and oppressive rules are never the answer. The best companies hire the right people and set the right expectations, and they trust their employees to use their judgment to make customers happy. When executives step back, employees provide more authentic and empathetic service.
Former Disney executive Lee Cockerell returns to the podcast to share his tips for striking that balance between loose and tight control. At Disney, Lee ran a operation with tens of thousands of employees who were spread across a huge physical space and ranged across a multitude of operational and service functions. What does it take to create a magical experience on that scale? Strong hires, high expectations and trust.
If you missed Lee's first interview, you can check it out here: At Disney, the Show Must Go On
What do you call the space between you and your customer? According to Dayton Semerjian, that's where you'll find the true value of a customer relationship. Dayton is general manager of global customer success and support at the IT services firm CA Technologies.
CA's customers tend to be large companies, and the decision to buy its software and services is usually made by big groups of people armed with heavy analysis. Customer relationships can be very complex, involving many internal teams that handle sales, implementation and tech support.
It’s not that uncommon for some customers to feel like they've fallen through the cracks in situations like these. In this episode, Dayton shares what it takes to earn promoters in complex client relationships.
Learn more: Do Your B2B Customers Promote Your Business?
Hotels didn’t always give out free toiletries. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when a Four Seasons hotel in London first started offering shampoo in showers that other hotels started following suit. And Four Seasons has been setting high standards for luxury travel—and hospitality in general—ever since.
Barbara Talbott, former chief marketing officer at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, shares how the company grew from a small chain to a global luxury brand during her two decades with the company. She left to start GlenLarkin Advisors in 2009, and now shares her keen sense of customer experience with other companies.