Category Archives: Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC)

Does changing NPS scale make sense?

Recently, a few clients were asking my opinion on NPS and the way it is calculated, scored, as well as its scale. And one of them pointed me to this article: Why there needs to be a European variant of the Net Promoter Score

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By Alexander Dobronte in http://www.checkmarket.com

It is an interesting article, and you can see that the author put some thought on the topic, and tried to build a logic around it, and for that alone it is worth reading. However, I must confess it is the first time I see such a thing, even though I would not be surprised if someone told me others have already suggested changing the way to calculate NPS.

I completely understand where the author is coming from, and what he says may even make sense in certain scenarios. But, it would fall short if we look at it from various other perspectives. For example, in my home country, Portugal, the school grades are given on a scale of 0 to 20. Also, I think that a person with low expectations would easily give a NPS score of 10 for the same service or experience that a person with high expectations would class as a 8 or 9.

No system is foolproof, and applies to every scenario in the same way, or is interpreted by every person the same way. I think the way people react and respond will always depend a little bit on one’s idiosyncrasy. As well as one’s cultural, educational, sociological and economical backgrounds. Sometimes even one’s momentarily mood!

And it is probably recognising exactly that, that the NPS creators and the majority of CX practitioners and specialists, choose to respect NPS score/scale. There’s no point in trying to create multiple variations of the way you calculate NPS, otherwise every company would end up with a different way of calculating NPS, defeating the whole purpose of a standard and consistent way of measuring.

As we all know, NPS was created (and is a trade mark) by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. And the way it is calculated and measures is well explained in the official site – with Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8) and Promoters (9-10).

What are your thoughts? Are you using the official NPS scale or diverting from it?

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3 principles to improve survey experience

On my blog post Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience I touched on the importance of Personalisation when it comes to design and build customer feedback surveys. But there are other things you should pay attention to, if you are truly interested in gathering your customers’ opinion.

KISS – Keep it simple

It is extremely important to follow the KISS principle and keep surveys simple. Often, we receive long and wordy surveys, which immediately put us off. We don’t have time, nor patience, to reply to lengthy questionnaires – Forrester recommends relational surveys to have no more than 15 questions, and transactional ones to have up to 10 questions.

Not long ago I received a survey invitation from Ryanair, in which they said it would take “no more than 5 minutes” of my time. But as soon as I got into the survey, I was advised it was not going to take “more than 10 minutes”. If I was already put off by the initial expectation, I surely was angry with the fact that it as misleading.

(Note: that was not the only reason I ended up not responding to the survey. The truth is that I don’t trust Ryanair’s intentions when it comes to VoC and CX, and I don’t believe they listen or care about customer’s opinions).

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KITTP – Keep it to the point

It is important to follow the KITTP principle (just made it up!) and keep surveys to the point. If it is transactional, ask for satisfaction, touch-point, effort or resolution. If it is relational, add questions around brand, product or competition. But make sure you avoid cluttering the survey with further questions, and don’t try to do market research in customer feedback surveys.

Surveys should be engaging and enticing. And that only happens if they’re objective and to the point. Ideally, surveys are effortless and fun to complete. You can use tactics like telling a story or using emojis. But don’t go off in tangents and stick to the questions that really matter and will surface valuable insight.

Same applies to the email invitations. It is not unusual to see survey invitations that not only lack the company’s branding, but also contain too much text. Bin, is their immediate destiny. Don’t try and shoot two birds with one stone putting marketing messages or up/cross-selling , in a customer feedback survey invitation.

KIC – Keep it consistent

Lastly, it is crucial to follow the KIC principle (there I go, making up even more acronyms!) and keep it consistent. Avoid at all cost having silos in your organisation (departments, teams, etc.) sending surveys using different platforms, branding or, even worse, different or wrong scales.

(Note: For heaven’s sake, if it is not in a 0 to 10 scale, it is not NPS!)

Make sure you have a joint approach to customer experience, and consistent customer feedback initiatives. Use a platform that allows you to enable and deploy different voice-of-the-customer initiatives, in various channels, but at the same time ensures consistency across those initiatives and data gathered.

CX Chat – Closing the loop with the customer

Every Wednesday a group of Customer and Employee Experience enthusiasts joins #CXChat, a twitter chat hosted by @annettefranz and @sueduris. This chat is for CX and EX professionals to connect, learn and share best practices. And every week it has a new topic.

Two weeks ago the topic was Closing the loop with the customer on feedback and other items. A very interesting topic around which Sue and Annette launched a series of questions for discussion. Very interesting discussions and opinions were shared, which you can see here.

This topic is dear to me, so I participated and shared my points of view. Some of which you can see below (apologies for some misspelling, but I was using my smartphone).

Q1. What does closing the loop with the customer mean?

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Q2. What is the importance of/are benefits to closing the loop with the customer? How does it help the customer experience?

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Q3. What are examples of companies failing to close the loop with customers?

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Q4. Can you measure whether you’re doing a good job with closing the loop with the customer? How can you tell?

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Q5. What are examples of companies effectively closing the loop with customers?

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Q6. If your CEO asked you to define a good closed loop process and provide best practices on how to manage it, what would you tell him/her?

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Q7. Closing the loop on customer feedback isn’t just about following up with customers. How does your company close the loop with employees?

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Q8. What are best practices for closing the loop with employees?

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Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience

Organisations launch surveys to measure customer experiences, but is the survey itself delivering a good experience? Those of us who usually take the time to provide an organisation with feedback on our experiences, know that the answer to that question is more often than not a resounding “No”.

The problem is that most organisations are just throwing surveys at customers without any consideration. Ultimately resulting in surveys that put people off, and customers disbelieving organisation’s intentions, thinking they just want to get more information to cross/up-sell.

If your organisation wants to be customer-centric and is truly interested in the customer opinion, then there are a few things to concentrate on when building Voice-of-Customer initiatives. One of them, which I believe is absolutely key, is Personalisation, and it can be addressed by breaking the fourth wall.

Design your surveys with an outside-in perspective, with a big focus on the customer. The one you are talking to, not a generic customer, persona or segment. Do what Frank Underwood used to do in House of Cards. Break the fourth wall and talk to the individual customer about what is relevant to her.

You have a full history of transactions and engagements in your operational systems (ERP, CRM, etc.) so why ask the customer what product she bought, before requesting feedback? Why ask the customer what channel she used, before checking if it was the most convenient. Ask the customer about THE product she bought or THE channel she used.

Make sure you use all information and data at your disposal – Operational Data (O-Data) and eXperience Data (X-Data) – to make surveys more personalised, simpler and effortless for the customer. This will ensure not only a great survey experience but also an increase in response rate.

The customer will not only feel valued, but also feel that the organisation is listening and willing to truly consider their opinion (closing the loop is another crucial topic that influences this, but we will address that in another blog post). 

Do you want an example?… See these two surveys below. Which survey sounds better? Which sounds more truthful? Which is more attractive? Which is going to generate more responses?… It is obvious, isn’t it?

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Keep up with customer perceived value

To thrive in today’s hyper-competitive and hyper-connected customer-focused world, you must not only deliver a positive Customer Experience every time you interact with a customer, but also create, deliver and refresh value, as perceived by customers, on a continuous basis.

The Kano Model (theory of product development and customer satisfaction developed back in the 80’s) classifies customer requirements into categories, and can be used in experience management to help us understand how customers perceive the value they get.

  • Must-be or the unspoken customer requirements are so obvious that the customer doesn’t expect to have to spell them out. They’re the absolute minimum, and the customer won’t even notice if you meet them. But if you don’t, it will be so crucial that you should be prepared to lose a customer.
  • One-dimensional requirements are related to product features or elements of service delivery. The more of those you meet, the better the Customer Experience, and the highest the customer will think of you. If you fail to deliver them the customer will certainly be disappointed and open up to competition.
  • Delighter requirements are the ones that surprise the customer and will delight or even wow, having an extremely positive impact on the Customer Experience, leading to word-of-mouth and advocacy. But no harm is done if these aren’t there, as they are not expected anyway.

The interesting thing is that with time Delighter requirements become One-Dimensional, and One-Dimensional requirements become Must-be. And that is one of the reasons you need to continuously update your understanding of the customer, and their perception of value.

There is only a limited number of ways to increase your knowledge of the customer. Look into solicited and unsolicited feedback – two good examples of that are the voice-of-the-customer (VoC) from surveys, or the interaction and buying information from CRM systems.

But the challenge is: how quickly and effectively can you collect, gather, aggregate or analyse data, and find actionable insights that will allow you to enhance an individual’s Customer Experience with your company and its products or services?

You will definitely need to assemble a cross-functional team. As OVUM says “the twin engines of growth – Customer Experience and continuous innovation – are not departmental challenges, as they have implications for the entire enterprise, its ecosystem of partners and suppliers”.

And you will undoubtedly need technology to enable and support you. An agile technology platform, focused on experience management, which allows you to collect valuable information and data at every customer journey stage, and from every touch-point or channel.

A technology platform that allows you to incorporate customer knowledge and feedback into every decision, by offering powerful capabilities to analyse, prioritise and predict based on statistical, text or sentiment analysis. As well as allow tracking of progress and immediate action.

So, if you are trying to keep up with your customer’s perceived value make sure you surround yourself with the right people, gear yourself up with the right tools, and put in place a continuous improvement plan, that will certainly have a start date but no end date.

Federer, Feedback and CX

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Roger Federer is a legend. So far (yes, I believe he still has a couple of more to win) he has won a record 19 Grand Slam titles, and over $100 million in prize money. He is the best of the best. A GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

Roger is coached by Stefan Edberg, who was #1 and won 6 Grand Slam titles, Ivan Ljubicic, who has a career high #3 and never reached a Grand Slam final, and Severin Lüthi, the head-coach, who gave up tennis when he was 20 with career high #622 and no titles!

Now the question is: Why does Federer need or even seek advice and feedback from people who are light-years away from his capability? People who have never even dreamed of achieving what the Swiss was able to achieve? People, like his head-coach, who have nothing to show for in tennis?

The answer is simple, and one that applies to you and your company. No matter how successful you are, you can never turn down a piece of advice and you always need feedback on how to improve. That is the only way you will be able to keep improving, and that is how the best keep being successful.

It doesn’t matter if the feedback comes from who you might think knows less than you about your business, product or service. Sometimes all you need is another perspective. One that is different from yours. And turns out that most times, in particular in business, customers and employees know more about it than you. They’re the users, they’re the frontline!

In business feedback is absolutely crucial. The best companies not only embrace feedback but, above all, they act on it. Customer feedback and Employee feedback are probably the most important ones, as they give you a true reflection of the experience your company is delivering, allowing you to address and move forward. To capitalise on the good things and improve the bad ones.

If you’re only starting the feedback journey then you should look into surveying your customers and employees. Surveys are the primary building block of Voice-of-Customer or Employee (VoC / VoE) programs – a key part of Customer Experience programs – as they help you gauge how customers and employees feel about the experience you deliver.

Once you have the data collected you need to analyse and make sense of the feedback. And after that you need to be able to reach actionable insights. That is the difficult bit. Finding meaning in your data and identifying the trends. Things that sometimes are buried deep under customers’ free text comments or responses.

It’s been over a year, since I came across and started working with a technology that enables all of the above, Qualtrics. The world’s leading enterprise research platform with over 8,500 brands using it to manage their Experience. Be it the Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience, Product Experience or Brand Experience.

The motto of this blog is “Customer Experience and Technology to Enable It“. Well here is a technology that will definitely enable you to improve the Customer Experience you deliver.

How to understand your customer

One of the key disciplines of Customer Experience (CX) is Customer Understanding. In order to design, implement and provide an outstanding CX, companies need to know and understand their customers, and their customers’ needs.

In order to do that, companies need customer insight, that can be collected from various sources, one of them being the customers themselves. For that a Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) programme needs to be put in place.

VoC helps you understand customer requirements, and determine what they perceive as being most valuable to them. At this point, it is important to also be aware of the Kano Model, and the fact that there are different types of requirements:

  • Must-bes: those that customers expect by default. If met, they have no positive impact. If not met, they have huge negative impact.
  • One-dimensional: those that are stated by the company. If met, they result in additional satisfaction.  If not met, they result in dissatisfaction.
  • Attractive: those that will surprise and delight customers. If met, they will “wow” the customer. If not met, they will have no impact.

(Notice that it is normal to see, over time, a one-dimensional requirement become a must-be. And an attractive become a one-dimensional).

There are various ways to collect VoC.

  • Qualitative methods, like mining unsolicited customer feedback (e.g. phone calls, emails, social media), or conducting ethnographic research.
  • Quantitative methods, like analysing data from CRM and finance systems, or gathering information through surveys.

Qualitative research is extremely important and effective. Due to its nature, it is done on a small number of customers. However, results may be completely skewed if the customer sample is not quite right.

On the other hand, Quantitative research is done on a much larger number of customers. And this will allow companies to feel more confident on a more accurate picture of customers and their needs.

Research on a significantly large sample of customers can only be done when enabled by technology. There are various platforms available. In my opinion Qualtrics is probably the best, and one of the most trusted, platforms in the world.

(I first came across Qualtrics in the Summer of 2016, and the company I work for, Capventis, quickly decided to adopt it as one of the preferred technologies. Since then we built a team of certified Qualtrics experts, and have supported 30+ clients. It can be used for CX initiatives, as well as Employee, Brand or Product Experience).

With a complete understanding of the customer, his requirements, and what he values the most (or perceives as being of value) companies – those working under CX strategies (and with VoC programmes), or those undertaking CX initiatives (in particular at the research stage) – will be able to deliver outstanding experiences, differentiate in the marketplace and ultimately succeed and grow.