Tom is a 24-year veteran of Safelite, and is still as excited today as when he joined. Tom shared several customer letters with us which showed how Safelite employees go above and beyond for customers. NPS has been the catalyst for a cultural transformation at Safelite in the journey to being a customer-centric company. Safelite is 65 years old and serves 5 million customers a year in the US, with 10,000 employees. In 2007 the company was acquired and Tom was made CEO in 2008. That was a very tough year..,sales and profits plummeted. That caused some internal review and they realized there were a number of things that the company was not doing well. They had a customer service index of 98.7%, but they realized that the score was masking the reality of what their service delivery was like. Autoglass is a low need, low involvement, low awareness industry. The #1 brand in the industry is “I don’t know”. Awareness of the Safelite brand was less than 5%. It is also a *negative* service category…no-one really wants the service…like funeral parlors, and root-canal dentists! Also, there was little differentiation with Safelite competitors. The management team decided they had to change and become the *natural choice* for autoglass repair in the US. This would allow them to quadruple their business. They used a few key strategies...build the brand, create the customer experience, and getting employees on board. They also started advertising…which also helped educate employees about what was expected of them.
Their journey was to move from satisfaction to delight...through changing perspective and behavior, changing the DNA (processes and systems), and changing the rules of the game (innovation). They had to rally the team. They chose the Net Promoter Score and embedded it into the culture. They talked about customer “delight” with associates. Their vision was based on two pillars...People First and Customer Delight. People First has leadership, focus, talent and caring as the four cornerstones. These were based on 6 core competencies that defined the *how*. Live our values, Think People First, Have Passion for creating Customer Delight, Understand the business, Be innovative, and Drive for extraordinary results. They gave customer service reps and technicians specific, 5-pointer sheets (B’s and T’s) to help them know how to deliver service. They used a pocket of excellence in Orlando to serve as an example to other areas and act as peer-to-peer training. They also used Boot Camps—>Boost Camps—>Boot Camps. Being invited to the second boot camp is not a good thing! The other most important tool is measurement and communication….it is not just communicating to leadership, but down to the *atomic* level (technicians and CSR’s), unfiltered and in a timely way. They took a look at their service recovery and found they had a post recovery NPS of 19%! The survey data pointed to key areas of improvement, which they acted quickly upon. They improved the score to 60%...the challenge is that they have not been able to get to 100%...the key lesson is that you can’t make promoters always from service recovery...you have to focus on getting it right the first time.
Tom says recognition is key to these transformative programs. This includes compensation aligned with the behaviors you want from associates.
Over the period from 2007, the company’s NPS has grown from 73% to 85%. Over the same period, sales has grown 78% (mostly organic) and profit has grown 114%. Engagement scores have also grown.
Safelite is now on the second phase of its transformation. Tom shared a grid showing how they are thinking of the future…Disciplines of Operational Excellence, Product Leadership, and Customer Service. The Values are Shareholders, Associates, and Customers. In the past Safelite has focused on Operational Excellence and Shareholders. They want to move to a company that focuses on Customer Service and Associates. It will be a lot of work, but Tom is optimistic. We look forward to hearing more on this next year!