I’m sort of embarrassed to admit this, but I was one of the last people in my circle of friends to get a cell phone. I was also the last executive at my company to succumb to instant messaging. And, it’s true, my wife manages our wireless network and most of the technical stuff in our house. Maybe it’s because I spend so much time consuming and creating information at work every day, that when it comes to my personal life I sort of like to be disconnected.
One thing I do enjoy is curling up for a good movie in front of the TV, true couch potato style. So when we walked past our local Blockbuster store last night on the way to dinner, the “store closing” sign really struck me. That a competitor could so quickly emerge and “bust” Blockbuster’s formerly dominant position for in-home movie rentals is a testament to the truly dynamic nature of customer expectations. If I want to be on the couch, Blockbuster got me out of the movie theater and into my home. That was step one. But why make me drive to a retail store? I’d rather just stay in my pajamas…enter: Netflix. But it doesn’t stop there. Why should I worry about fees for returning a movie late? Netflix solved that too.
A few nights ago we used the Netflix online service to watch a movie on our new “extra large” computer monitor. So while Blockbuster may be busted, Netflix can’t rest on its laurels. The Internet may yet “disintermediate” the U.S. postal service completely when it comes to delivering that little red envelope to my door. We’ll see if Netflix can stay on top of that change in the coming decade.
While I’m not exactly an early adopter as a consumer, I must admit that I’m fascinated by the big questions that come from trying to sift out “fads” from major innovations in customer experience. And all of us who work in the area of customer experience and customer feedback must be constantly on the watch for clues and innovations that customers will point us to in their feedback. It starts with commentary about what they want and where your company may fall short, but it’s more than that.
Creating a promoter is also about what your customer can get (and what they expect from you) based on other experiences they have both inside your industry and with other interactions at work and at home. And the holy grail may well come from using NPS in conjunction with other forms of smart listening to divine what the customer would aspire to (and pay for), if only someone could figure it out.
This year’s Net Promoter Conference comes at a pivotal time, at the beginning of a new decade and on the back of a pretty horrible time economically for most companies. But I think all of the churn, company failures, and restructurings have set us up for a new era of innovation as the companies that remain standing jockey for position while the economy recovers.
Net Promoter will be a strategic advantage for companies who have mastered the use of this approach. And I’m looking forward to exploring the implications of that with our distinguished group of guest speakers, and members of the Net Promoter Community, in New York on February 1st and 2nd.
Whether it’s the continued evolution from mobile “phones” to mobile information access, debate over healthcare delivery models, the rebuilding of trust in financial services, deeper process and technology integration among business partners, new support channels, or a new way of developing your people…come prepared to discuss how the customer’s voice can help you navigate these opportunities using NPS as a compass.
What will customers expect of your industry (and your company) in the coming years? Please send me your thoughts.
P.S. My new “extra large” computer monitor comes courtesy of Dell. It’s very nice, and a great value, according to my wife. For full disclosure, Dell is a client, and my boss spent a good part of his career there. But my wife made this purchase decision all on her own. Remember she controls the technical stuff at home…and the purse strings :)