For those that missed the Net Promoter Conference in San Francisco I wanted to follow up my pre conference blog with some random thoughts and lasting impressions that I have. In my blog before the conference, I asked the question:
In our Customer Experience consulting practice, we have encountered way too many customers who do survey their customers but do not or cannot use the feedback effectively. So, it was gratifying and impressive to see such a large turnout of customer zealots, especially in this business climate. I have opined in my blogs before that this is actually a great time to invest in improving your customer experience as your customer base is the path to future growth.
It was good to see the large turnout and that Richard Owen ( CEO of Satmetrix ) led off the conference talking about the importance of retaining customers as the cost of retention is far below that of acquisition of new customers. Save money, grow your business at the same time, how good is that? Equally impressive was the lineup of key executives from leading companies reiterating the same core principles. More importantly, we heard story after story that the Net Promoter score was not the goal; it was the fundamental business improvement that was facilitated by NPS programs that was the key. There were great examples of the Net Promoter economics as people had matured in their programs.
Some other themes were repeated by various speakers and attendees talking off to the side. Here are a few that I noted and whole heartedly endorse:
- NPS and customer experience requires the focus and endorsements of the C-suite executives to really be effective and enduring. Those that do embrace NPS have seen the results.
- Net Promoter Score is not the goal, fixating on great customer experience will give you a good score. The process is what helps you get better.
- NPS can be sponsored by the C-suite but still not be effective if you do not get engage your employee in the process
- NPS is about a journey and not a destination. It is not a program of the day. It requires commitment to the long term and lots of hard work to get the largest gains.
- Your customers are kind enough to give you the gift of feedback when you survey, you better darn well return the favors by ensuring diligent follow up.
- The C-suite cannot dictate good customer experience, it must be a part of the DNA, in must be nurtured and it needs to be a core part of the corporate values and operating principles.
- Survey may be a bad word. NPS is trying to encourage customer conversations. It is about how you listen to your customer and how you respond.
In the research that we have done around adaptive organizations and how companies survive for 50-100 years, the same factors emerge. While innovation is important, innovation does not happen without first listening to your customers. The more global that you are, the more that we use new media channels to connect with customers, the more diligent we need to be in listening to our customers. Like we heard many times during the conference, quite often the employee is the key channel from which we can gain customer insight and best influence the customer experience. Customer experience is not one job or one function; it is role of everyone in the company to drive positive, value added experiences.
The lasting impression that I took away from the conference is that interest in customer experience is growing, especially in B to B companies, and more companies are starting to understand the word “Customer” when it comes to their success.