Fred Reichheld, author of The Ultimate Question, kicked off our afternoon with a discussion of the economical ways that companies can delight customers. How do you get from a 20% Net Promoter Score to 80% without “breaking the bank”?
Fred explained that the best companies may not measure NPS any better than others. But what they do extremely well is to find systematic ways to delight the customer without spending a lot of money. He used examples from U.S. fast-food chain Chick Fil-A to illustrate the point. They do many things that are different from other fast food restaurants, including:
- having the manager work in the front of the store
- keeping umbrellas on hand for customers on a rainy day
- refreshing drinks for free
- stationing an employee outside at the drive-thru to greet people
Fred continued the discussion with a video from Internet retailer Zappos.com, which was developed to support Chick Fil-A with its own employee training. It includes some great examples of Zappos.com employees at work, having fun. And the culture was illustrated by quotes from their CEO, Tony Hsieh, such as these:
“My passion never has been about shoes. It’s about service and culture.”
And, showing his “desk,” which was an open cube, Tony commented “The best way to have an open door policy is just to not have a door in the first place.”
Tony’s comments also echoed the value of creating more Promoters in a business. Mr Hsieh’s thinking:“Let’s take all the money we would have spent on marketing, and instead, invest it in the customer experience so that customers will do the marketing for us.”
As Fred explained, Zappos.com was successful with this strategy. Last year, Amazon.com bought the business for $1.2 billion. Selling shoes online could be thought of as a commodity business. But by figuring out ways to “wow” customers, Zappos.com was able to successfully differentiate itself and grow.
Fred stressed the central role of the employee experience in making this work, with examples from U.S. airline company Jet Blue. He also shared some examples of frugal wow at American Express, which focuses these innovations at 3 specific points in their customer interaction: early engagement with the company, getting a replacement card, and making a merchant dispute.
Fred’s last example was from IT hosting company, Rackspace. He explained how Rackspace focuses its entire organisational structure around service. Not just training, but also the way they structure their service teams…in a matrix with all of the required resources to serve the customer’s needs working in a close-knit unit. We had several members of the Rackspace team in the audience, and Fred took comments from them and from other audience members who shared their own stories of frugal wow.
What’s your story?