Deborah Eastman – Satmetrix
It’s always a please to hear Deborah speak. In the past I’ve been fortunate enough to have her teach part of my NPS Certification class. One of the great things about Deborah is that she has really walked the talk. When she speaks it’s from real experience of implementing NPS programs in complex, international B2B environments prior to her joining the Satmetrix team.
During this session we heard a about Deborah’s time with Bearing Point and the successful NPS-based key account program she introduced. It was a really interesting insight to hear that when returning there some years later on a consulting engagement she saw exactly the same issues and customer feedback were still present in the business. They had been unable to leverage all the excellent feedback they had and move to action.
If there was one thing Deborah wanted us to catch it was the need to act.
Deborah outlined that B2B account relationships are complex. In B2C everyone is (mostly) equal but in B2B we have to focus on who is the decision maker, who are the influencers, who are the end users. In addition, often overlooked, your account management organization is often equally complex. Stitching those two organizations together in an operational program is really the key challenge:
- this complexity gives us multiple points of potential failure, that can impact the whole account. But also lot’s of opportunities to delight.
- We have to be cautious that without an NPS program we have a biased view of B2B relationships -> Account teams are not always facing the reality of the health of the relationships
In that context Deborah emphasized again that this is not a research project – it must be an operational program to open the dialogue, and one that’s not related to a sales opportunity or a service intervention. It’s not a survey to calculate a score; it’s a way in which you engage with customers in a continuous improvement cycle:
1. Contact selection and recruitment
2. Non-response alert follow-up
3. Team review and action planning
4. Account closed loop
5. Structural action and communications
Coming back again to the internal account team structure, Deborah then spent time highlighting that the account team is not just the sales organization – we have to include all the key players that interact with the accounts, e.g. service and support organizations, regional/general management, etc. Looking at the typical concerns amongst those different groups really gave an insight into how the success of the account is a shared responsibility.
Towards the end Deborah pulled out a few key points that we’d do well to track in our own programs:
- Active recruitment of customers into the program is key to drive response rates from the right contacts. Don’t drop a survey on them without warning. It has to be described in terms of how it’s part of the ongoing relationship, and that it is not just a survey.
- It’s about engaging employees to collect and exploit the feedback - not about having them sit on the side lines watching the score. Be cautious in tying compensation to the scores too early – it will just drive employees towards gaming the system
- Watch response rates carefully – less than 50% response rates means your teams are not engaging and you are not capturing a good picture of the real situation.But take care it’s representative of the different roles also (decision maker, influencer, end user) - it’s no good if all responses are from one population.
- these programs are here to drive to growth (it’s not about a survey, so change your vocabulary)
- it’s about dialog not the score, the score comes from the actions we make
- action has to come at all levels throughout the organization to be effective at transforming the relationship
So, another great session and a good close to today’s B2B track!