Net Promoter News: Porsche’s customer service skidmark, Optus fashionably late to Net Promoter party, Customers all the way with USAA
Porsche’s customer service skidmark forces survey tuneup
A global synonym for luxury, one may expect Porsche to be a leader in customer service. Indeed, the business has announced an NPS nudging +70 – an exceptionally high score, and one that would often lead to a press release bragging its NPS is closing in on Apple’s. (You may have noticed we are not particularly fans of that angle).
However, because its NPS had increased “suspiciously” fast, Porsche was concerned there was some kind of a problem in its processes that may have caused it to rise. After some investigation, it uncovered that dealers had been artificially driving up scores by offering freebies and other perks to customers.
Left unchecked, this kind of practice can lead to damage to the brand as quality customer service is replaced by gift-giving.
In an effort to remove the temptation to artificially improve scores, Porsche now only allow its dealers access to feedback from the follow-up question. According to a spokesperson, “Really the NPS doesn’t have much business value, it’s just an indication of the customer’s view at that moment in time. The real business value comes from the words people use in their verbatim answers.”
While we suggest the score is an effective way of tracking improvement in overall satisfaction, it is very refreshing to see a company be so candid about what it has learned from its Net Promoter survey processes, not to mention sharing the benefits of its experience. Econsultancy
Optus fashionably late to Net Promoter party
In the last two years, the mobile market share of Australian telco Optus has stayed steady at 32 per cent, where its main rival Telstra has grown from 42 to 46 per cent.
Perhaps in part due to this, the telco has decided to adopt Net Promoter to improve its customers’ experience and increase brand loyalty (in March this year we reported on Telstra’s decision to adopt NPS).
Implemented effectively, the renewed focus on the customer by the two leading telcos will be welcome news to underwhelmed customers. According to Optus, only 26 per cent are loyal to their existing mobile carriers. Australian Financial Review
Customers all the way with USAA
A survey of 5,000 US consumers for 180 companies across 19 industries by the Temkin Group has revealed that even utilities such as insurance can produce extremely high levels of advocacy.
Military insurer USAA led the entire pack with the highest NPS, followed by Marriott, Amazon.com, H.E.B., credit unions, Barnes & Noble, Apple (for both computers and software), Publix, QVC, BJs Wholesale Club, and Aldi.
At the other end, HSBC was highly unpopular, with the lowest two scores for its banking and credit cards. Charter Communications (for its TV service and Internet service businesses), Capital One, Citibank (for its banking and credit card businesses), Anthem, McDonald’s, Aetna, and Motel 6 were also unpopular.
Interestingly, higher scores came from older respondents, and banks had the highest ethnic gap in their scores, receiving an average of +45 from Asians but +15 from Caucasians. Sacramento Bee
- Rivet & Sway, an ecommerce site for spectacles targeted at time-strapped females, has claimed a (self-reported) NPS of +82. Business Insider
- Wedge Group Galvanizing claims that in the past 12 months it has been reaching scores of between +80 and + 90. Telegraph & Argus
Net Promoter Vacancy
Net Promoter System Business Analyst, Telstra, Melbourne/Sydney, Australia.
It’s a dark stormy January night in the Eastern Mediterranean. You are the last of the 15 pilots of your launch still airborne. The other 14 pilots have managed to land on the pitching deck of the aircraft carrier, some taking several attempts to do so. This is the most dangerous manoeuvre for the pilot of any carrier aircraft, and after taking two failed attempts to land (they call it a “bolter”) you only have enough fuel for one more run.
As you approach the ship, which is pitching up and down so it looks at times like you are above your flight path, you hear the voice of the Landing Signals Officer (LSO) keeping you on track. The best you can do is remember your training and keep calm. You have to land on that pitching deck.
And then moments later, touchdown. The relief of having landing safely is almost overwhelming – your heartrate takes minutes to come down, and your hands are shaking even as you get your first hot drink in the ready room. Facing gentle ribbing from your fellow fliers about being the last back, it quickly turns to some empathy, and you get told that your hard time was the result of a “Night in the Barrel” and it happens to the finest fliers.
Even then, the ordeal is not finished. The LSO team visits the ready room, and in front of all the assembled squadron publicly grades you on the “pass” (landing): “High, slightly overshooting start, fly through on comeback in the middle, low at the ramp. Fair-2 wire.” Ouch. And a marker is placed on the big “Greenie Board” on the wall of the Ready Room: A yellow circle. For all to see.
Back on shore…
This is just one of the stories that my colleague Rob Kerner tells about his time in the Navy. A real-life former “Top Gun”, Rob flew F14s in the US Navy, and rarely talks about it, but over a beer can sometimes be persuaded to let a few details slip. And this tale came out after a recent webinar we gave, “Relationship v Transactional Surveys”. I immediately picked up on the Greenie Board idea.
Rob explained that the Greenie Board was the most public part of an entire process that helps pilot get safely on the deck every time.
At the end of each pass, the controlling LSO shouts out his initial assessment of the landing to a writer on the team, and after every plane has been recovered, the LSO team goes below deck and reviews the passes. It is a peer group meeting (the LSOs are also are experienced pilots). A mark is given for each pass, and written notes reviewed. Later the LSOs will visit the ready room and goes through the grades in public. It’s an objective assessment. A frank exchange with the pilot is allowed, but the grade never changes. And this is for every pilot – Rob remembered his LSO duty giving a debrief to an Admiral!
And then for public display, the grade is put on the Greenie Board, which shows the most recent passes. There is no hiding from a Yellow or a Red. It’s transparent and very public.
Pilots are assessed monthly at sea by the LSOs, who will look at trends in the results – for example, on getting on the right glideslope at 10 miles out. Rob said that for him, this coaching was essential to help him improve.
From the warship to relationship
In some ways it’s crass to compare this story to business. I am in awe of anyone who can risk their life like this. And how can customer relationships be anything like defying death on the ocean? But there are some points that I took away from his story that related neatly to what we do with CustomerGauge.
The method of having a simple mark and comment for each pass perfectly fits the Net Promoter® concept of Promoter, Passive or Detractor, together with an explaining comment. In the case of business, it’s a transaction, or customer contact in place of a “pass”.
Scores are publicly displayed for all to see – an excellent transparency that you see in the best organisations. This drives continuous improvement, and again, a feature that is found in CustomerGauge, showing the Net Promoter Score and comment by segment, by customer in real time.
And the point that I really liked is that the flyer’s career is in part judged by his/her success on the “Greenie Board”. In our world, that means the “Relationship” Net Promoter Score is made up of the individual “Transactions”. And our Waterfall charts help organisations drill into the reasons behind negative or positive sentiment.
Measure for success
We often come across clients starting a Net Promoter project that have the initial notion of measuring b2b NPS with an in-depth annual survey of a representative sample of customers, either by phone or long web-survey. Our belief has always been that continuous surveying of transactions builds a much better picture of the relationship, and showing them on real-time dashboards like the Navy Greenie Board has always been a core function of CustomerGauge. We strongly believe that business relationships are made up of these touch-points (or transactions), and large b2b customers have many individuals interacting daily with suppliers. Scoring every transaction is the way to daily scores, and continual improvement.
Rob reminded me that he is also a member of USAA (the finance organisation aimed at US servicemen and women), hailed by Fred Reichheld as an NPS “star”. Rob also raves about their service, and it got me wondering if there was something in this military metric focus (of which the Greenie board is an excellent example) that can infuse its way across the entire business. The result for USAA is an excellent and consistent approach for customers.
I’m really inspired by this story. Watch out for part 2, where we actually take the “Greenie Board” concept and make it work in CustomerGauge for b2c “Relationship” NPS.
And if you have a few minutes, this video will give you a deep respect for what guys like Rob have done to keep the peace…
“…for now, the net promoter score is the best measure available for determining client delight”
A couple of relevant articles caught our eyes this week.
Steve Denning in the Forbes article “Measuring Business’s New Bottom Line: Customer Delight” neatly summarises the Net Promoter® Score methodology. “To measure customer delight at the organizational level, the best place to start is the work of Fred Reichheld. [...] Initially he had trouble getting firms to take loyalty seriously or to do anything about measuring or tracking it [...] So he set out to create an instrument so simple that people could easily understand how it tracked the quality of their client relationships“. In a balanced way, Denning describes the growth of Net Promoter, and closes with “Reichheld himself is careful not to overstate the reliability or validity of the method. It’s not intended as a tool for academic study, he notes, and it doesn’t work in some settings [...] Nevertheless, it is practical and intuitive, and, most important, it drives rapid learning and action across the organization [...] for now, the net promoter score is the best measure available for determining client delight.“
On the VentureBeat Entrpreneur column, Clate Mask (of Conquer the Chaos fame) counts up 3 ways to avoid costly customers. News-At-Ten-headlines: 1. Get totally clear on who the target customer is, 2. Put metrics in place to measure the cost of a customer. 3. Re-negotiate with or terminate costly customers. Back up to bullet 2) and he suggests: “A few key metrics can help you steer clear of this trap. These will vary, depending on the type of business you run, but a few common examples are cost of goods sold, lifetime customer value and net promoter score.”
Social Media: Netpop Research publish Net Promoter Scores for social network sites in US, and find that YouTube users are more likely to recommend than FaceBook and Twitter. Scores include YouTube 50, Facebook 36, Groupon 33, LinkedIn 30, Craigslist 29 with Twitter at 11. Source: MarketingProfs
Canada’s BMO Financial Group shout out their NPS and Profit in their Q1 results: “We continue to focus on the customer experience, as reflected in our high loyalty scores. Our retail net promoter score was 41 for the first quarter of 2011 and 40 in the prior quarter, and remains very strong compared to the scores of our major competitors.”. Profits up too: Net Income Increased 18% to $776 Million. Source
Military’s own USAA topped NPS tables for third year, coming first in consumer banking, personal auto insurance and homeowners/renters insurance categories in Satmetrix 2011 Net Promoter Benchmark Study. Texas based USAA led in all three industry sectors by squarebashing Net Promoter Scores of 87 in consumer banking; 78 in homeowners/renters insurance; and 73 in auto insurance.From San Antonio Business Journal. [Net Promoter insiders should check out the USAA testimonial page, which is beautifully executed and kept up to date with new tributes daily.]
Card-Not-Present e-commerce processers Litle and Co win 2011 Stevie Award for Litle Vault. PR reads “The company’s customer-obsessed culture is committed to Voice of the Customer initiatives, including Net Promoter Score (NPS)” More.
Staffing Specialists: In a slew of self-puffers covering Net Promoter scoring in Inavero’s 2011 Best of Staffing/CareerBuilder one stood out with a number. Hudson, who “secured their place on the winner list by obtaining at least a 55% Net Promoter Score for extraordinarily high levels of client satisfaction. This score is nearly double the national staffing industry’s Net Promoter Score benchmark…” Source.
Gaming: British bingo-to-roulette gamblingistas Rank Group touted financials for 2010 showing increase in revenues to £567.8m, and mentioned NPS in refreshinghly honest way. “Revenue accelerated strongly and operating margin expanded [...] Net promoter score declined significantly, principally as a result of customer dissatisfaction with our online casino and sportsbetting sites.” Not clear if they are fixing the NPS score, or if mug punters do not recommend losing money to friends or family. iGaming
International: Genroe and Directness announce partnership to bring continuous Net Promoter Score measuring system CustomerGauge to Australia, calling out early success with insurer iSelect. More
Small Business: We like to see heartwarming stories from smaller companies having success with Net Promoter. This from Lawn and Landscape News , and covers Brad Johnson, owner of LawnAmerica in Tulsa, Okla., talking about on how companies can measure their customer satisfaction. “True growth in any industry is hard to find,” Johnson said. “We’re geared for not just pleasing customers, but exceeding their expectations. They’ll talk about us if we’re really, really bad or really, really good. … That determines your future growth: how happy your customers are. I’m a numbers guy. I like to see data. The Net Promoter Score is a number I can look at, and I can be confident of how we’re doing on customer service.”
From a Net Promoter perspective Johnson does the right thing: incentivizing his entire company on the NPS results; depending on their position, managers can receive as much as $3,500 more at the end of the year if they exceed their goals. Technicians and office staff earn bonuses based on the performance of the company as a whole. “We post all of our data. There’s some peer pressure, because it’s very visible,” he said, and added “It seems to be working: In 2010, retention went up, turnover went down and employees’ attitudes were better”.
Net Promoter News: Labor Finders work 63, JUNK clears 80, Schwab long on 46, NPS Comes out of Closet at 80
News that the world of market research seems to be coming to its senses. This item caught our attention: Not Part of the Future: Long Surveys. Money quote: “One current element of market research that is not probable or preferred is the LONG survey.” (source). Another from the superbly named Bad Research; No Biscuit asked “What in the world can you learn from a sixty minute survey that you can’t learn from a 5-minute one?” (Just Say No Already). Finally in this group: “Customer Sat. studies used to be overtly long and terrifying – until Bain, McKinsey and BCG told all the CEO’s of the world that the only thing they should care about is the single question on “How likely are you to recommend?”” (source).
Our stand on this: The survey of the future will be a Net Promoter survey and like have Two Questions, tops. Oh wait – the future is here today! Best example: “pure Net Promoter implementation: two questions using simple, clean interface and minimal hassle for the customer!” Source: Vivmag, Survey hall of fame and shame)
Satmetrix publishes Net Promoter Leaders
Satmetrix released 2010 Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks for the insurance, financial services, airlines, telecommunications, technology, retail and online services industries. Some highlights: USAA 81, Apple 78, Amazon.com 71, Trader Joe’s 68, Wegmans 67, Costco 66, eBay 65, Facebook 65, Jet Blue 64, Google 63. Other notables: Insurance: Geico 41. Health insurance: Cigna -28.
Retail drill down: Amazon’s score drooped from 74% to 71%, eBay improved from 61% to 65% and Barnes & Noble pushed from 58% to 59%. eBay and Amazon had just 5% of their customers categorized as detractors. Among multichannel retailers, both Best Buy Co. Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s online stores had higher NPS scores than the bricks-and-mortar stores with scores of 45% and 46%, respectively, compared to in-store scores of 29% and 41%. Conversely, Target Corp.’s in-store score was 52%, compared to its online score of 44%. Widely covered here (RW), here (own) and here (IR)
Labor Finders at 63.
200 branches Labor Finders International, largest privately held industrial labor staffer in US beat all-comers in Inavero/CareerBuilder Best of Staffing 2010 NPS smackdown. Inavero claim staffing industry averages Net Promoter score of 40%. Labor Finders clocked in a score of 63%. Source – self puff
PrintAudit impress at 76.
The Canadian print management outfit PrintAudit self-scores NPS 76. Run o’the mill self puff with zero details on methods, but a quite impressive page with 250 testimonials on (some looked like they might have been politely persuaded. No matter, still some achievement). Source: Horse’s mouth.
Any Old Iron?
Brian Scudamore’s 1-800-GOT-JUNK junk removal business with 250 franchises is a word-of-mouth driven business. He explains NPS-led philosophy and posts a score of 80. Company drills down NPS to franchise, even to the truck level. Source
Schwab brokers 46
Charles Schwab go long on NPS with a new high of 46, leading the Brokerage and Investment sector. Source
Fight! PEER1 vs Allcomers
Hoster PEER1 says its NPS is 36, trouncing the rest of the IT services industry’s lowly 7. In a confrontational statement MD Dominic Monkhouse calls out his rivals: “To improve transparency over service quality PEER 1 Hosting believes all serious hosting service providers should measure and publish their Net Promoter Score“. No mention of sample size or details, natch, but we like the way this one is going. source
Out of the Closet at 80
Wardrobe-sters California Closets (New England Franchise) have been measuring their Net Promoter Score. Striving to make a difference in their customers homes and lives, they have found a convenient tie rack to tidily hang their NPS of 79.9. Source: CupboardLove
ABB Engineers Customer Experience via NPS
Bill Black, Group Senior Qual and Ops Excellence Veep at ABB yaks about customer confidence best practices for maintaining and improving customer confidence in a podcast, highlighting how they use Net Promoter Score as a key customer sat. measure. Advice on external/internal satisfaction, plus how to turn around a drop in confidence. Source
Award for best use of decimal points in an NPS Press Release
Ski Butlers (seen around this parish before) got a new NPS score. 86.39 percent. Loving the precision! Source: BadMathbyPRpeople
And finally… Zappos sues Disney
We racked our brains for another suitable April Fool on Net Promoter but struck out this year due to lack of creativity. But I was taken in for a few seconds by the “Zappos Sues Disney” article. The meat: “Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, says it’s just one battle in his efforts to prevent companies from making misleading claims. The lawsuit alleges that Disneyland’s tagline of being “The Happiest Place on Earth” is “clearly false, deceptive, and confusing to the marketplace”,and cites internal Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics that suggest that the designation should be given to Zappos.com, Inc“. ‘Nuff respec for this prank, Hsieh, but we’ll beat you next April 1!