Guitar Center is comprised of a family of brands. They help people make music. They have over 220 retail locations with a wide selection of musical instruments and accessories. They have knowledgeable employees and provide a hands-on and interactive in-store experience. They also offer lessons, rehearsal studios and instrument repairs.
An interesting story from Pittsburgh. Four months into Guitar Center’s NPS they took a call from one of their top performing store managers wondering why his NPS score was so low. Together they looked at the metrics. The high traffic store experienced higher sales, but a closer look uncovered issues of product availability, long checkout lines, etc. They went back to their store team and really pushed the CSAT (NPS) program and realized immediate improvement.
In this unique market, Guitar Center has 85% industry awareness and 50% of the market visits their stores. In order to maximize sales, they needed to improve relationships with their current customer base. This is often difficult due to the diverse nature of their customers, including beginners, seasoned veterans, semi-pros, professionals and even grandmothers. It is challenging to understand their skill and knowledge levels and immediately scale conversations to where they are at. The ultimate goal is to provide a hands-on expertise to walk customers through their purchase, determine how to expedite the sale to get customer in and out quickly, and maintain a knowledge of a wide variety of equipment like guitars, drums, recording, DJ, accessories, etc. Don't assume you know what to measure. Prioritize customer service attributes. Make sure you get the big picture. It is also important to gain feedback from shoppers that don't purchase so that you can understand their pain points. Find out what is important to your customers through qualitative comments. Measure attributes that drive the highest levels of satisfaction. They developed their “Open Ears” program to capture feedback and promoted it in their stores and on their websites. In the first month, this program tripled calls to Guitar Center’s customer feedback department. Customers talk and GC listens. Recognize that information comes in many forms - get as much as you can. Inbound calls, emails to customer service, social media, outbound calls, random sample surveys all provide valuable insights. The power of voice (telephone) surveys should not be underestimated. Guitar Center partnered with Direct Opinions to create a CSAT program using NPS as one of their primary metrics. The online tool delivers tiered views by functional roles within the organization. The dashboard features scores, differing views, rankers and a deep dive to each individual survey. This is a “one stop shop“ for all stakeholders to evaluate how a store, a district, a region or the entire organization, is performing. They created a “Heroes” tab where success stories are selected and posted, often including a picture of the employee and customer featured. “We listen, we act, we fix.” All customer feedback creates a customer service ticket if negativity is attributed to it. Serious issues are handled by GC’s customer service ninjas. All tickets must be entered into the reporting tool so that they can track how issues are resolved. Involve everyone in your program. Tailor training programs and celebrate heroes. Share their stories and they should be celebrated by the company. Prior to implementing their CSAT program, Guitar Center had a universal training program to address the “flavor of the month” issues, such as how to greet a customer, Now their training programs are tailored by store to focus on the top two areas that need improvement based on their CSAT scores. They found a direct correlation of individualized training to store improvements. The heroes program has also been used as inspiration for a new advertising campaign.
The result? A culture of customer satisfaction was born, met with widespread acceptance and involvement at all levels of the organization, fostering a competitive spirit amongst the stores.