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Net Promoter News: Customer-centric KO's sales-centric, Dutch telcos fail to shine, Intuit finds surprise NPS benefits, Home Depot improves NPS, EdgeWave finds an edge

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Why customer-centric beats sales-centric

A couple of weeks ago we briefly touched on employees and how all too often they become the forgotten linchpin of great customer service. But nurturing an internal environment that produces great customer service is not as simple as rewarding staff for meeting sales targets. In fact, according to Professor Moira Clark, Director of the Henley Centre for Customer Management, rewarding sales may be a mistake, because instead of nurturing a customer-centric environment, you will instead nurture a sales-centric environment that may create short-term spikes in sales at the expense of the long-term sustainability of your customer relationships.

Instead, she advises that a customer-centric environment is nurtured best by having “systems, procedures and rewards in place” to inspire staff. It may be that you reward them for good customer service, satisfaction or meeting a target Net Promoter score.

How are you inspiring your staff to be truly customer-centric? Please let us know in the comments below! InternetRetailing

Dutch Telcos leaving customers underwhelmed

A Q4 2011 analysis of customer sentiment across the Netherlands has provided mixed news for mobile operators. On the one hand, there was some significant improvement by major players KPN and Vodafone Netherlands which increased their scores by four and five points respectively. But on the other hand, the best major player, Vodafone NL, recorded an NPS of -14 – significantly shy of Ben, which once again led the pack with the only positive score, of +5.

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And despite these improvements, market average rose by only one point, from -20 to -19, with T-Mobile Netherlands and Telfort falling to score lower than the market average.

Among the fixed-line operators, Delta and XS4ALL received the highest Net Promoter Score, although both remained in negative territory.

Shout out to Dutch telcos: Customers are calling, but is anybody home? TelecomPaper mobile operator fixed-line

intuit-2.jpgIntuit returns double digit growth, finds surprise benefits in NPS

American financial software provider Intuit is the latest company to discuss its Net Promoter results at its earnings call. According to CEO Brad Smith, customers have been returning higher-than-expected Net Promoter Scores for free tax advice they are receiving from the company.

This might sound pretty obvious – if you are offering a free product that your customers find genuinely useful, it comes as no surprise that this particular product will register a higher-than-average NPS. However, what was more interesting for the punters out here in Net Promoter land was that the high score for Intuit’s free tax product had a knock on effect across the entire business – dragging up the NPS across the whole product range.

While Intuit did not provide actual scores, the company grew revenue at a double-digit rate in its fiscal second quarter. Coincidence? We think not. Seeking Alpha

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Home Depot announces improved earnings, Net Promoter scores

US home improvement giant Home Depot surprised the market this week with a 32% jump in earnings during Q4 2011. A bottoming out of the US housing market was cited by analysts as a possible reason for the jump, but buried deep inside the earnings transcript was another hint – a 130 basis point jump in satisfaction for the overall store to an extremely impressive +70.7, and a 290 basis point jump for the pro area. Seeking Alpha

EdgeWave finds an edge in customer service

We have spoken before on the importance of following up with your customers to let them know that an issue or suggestion they made has been acknowledged. Following 94% customer satisfaction rates and “industry-leading” Net Promoter Scores, online security firm EdgeWave has done just that and launched a customer rewards program in order to thank their advocates – not just with words but also with benefits that customers will use.

We read about this initiative via an EdgeWave press release, and as can often be the case, one of the most interesting tidbits of information was almost lost way back in the last paragraph. Please allow me to indulge myself (just for a moment, I promise!) and highlight a tangible point of differentiation that customer-centric businesses including EdgeWave (and Enterasys) offer:

“While many competitors have moved their technical support centers offshore, EdgeWave is committed to keeping their customer support in the US and staffing their centers with service-focused, product experts.”

Executives: We know the temptation to cut costs and outsource is great. But surely the temptation to cement relationships and develop long-term trust, advocacy, and growth should be greater? MarketWatch

Next Up: Case Study: Fighting Corrosion with Customer Service (Dörken MKS System, B2B)

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