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How Heineken Leveraged AX to Grow When Bars were Shut Down

Heineken may be known as a consumer-facing company with incredibly strong brand recognition and loyal customers all over the world. But from a business standpoint, Heineken’s B2B customer experience is just as critical–if not more critical–than its consumer-facing experience. 

In its frequent dealings with vendors and resellers, Heineken takes a customer-first and customer-centric approach. That means going the extra mile to ensure that bars, restaurants, and other resellers have the opportunity to communicate feedback. That also means responding to feedback and delivering an ever-more stellar experience with Heineken. 

This week on the Account Experience Podcast, we sat down with the Voice of Customer Program Lead, Stephan Visser to talk about Heineken’s B2B customer experience….and how he’s partnered with CustomerGauge to deliver a better, more tailored experience to Heineken’s B2B accounts. 

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Why B2B for a Brand Like Heineken?

As mentioned above, Heineken is best known as a consumer brand–delivering awesome beer with the famous green and gold label. But as Visser explains, much of Heineken’s most important business is conducted with bars. 

Visser poses the question, “What can we do to improve relationships with bars so that they stay happy with us, so that we keep relationships with them, and so that they keep selling our beer towards the end consumers?”

Consumers in bars have a more limited selection of beer, and a greater opportunity to develop relationship with the brand. To maintain visibility and presence in bars then, it’s critical that Heineken does everything they can to nurture those relationships with a responsive customer experience. 

“Just Do It” – Taking the Leap into B2B Account Experience 

To help Heineken take the leap into B2B account experience, Visser took a “Nike”-style approach: He just did it. 

After trying out the pilot program with CustomerGauge, Heineken sent out 600 NPS surveys to customers and quickly discovered the power of collecting feedback from customers–even negative feedback. 

“It's quite scary at first to start calling back a client who gave you a ‘zero’ or a ‘1’ just 48 hours ago,” explains Visser. But once they took the leap into actually having a conversation with customers–even disgruntled ones–they got a surprising response. 

“All those conversations turned out positive...we could take their feedback and either improve our processes or shift the individual approach with the client. Sometimes it even led to the increase of revenue.”

Continual Dialogue with Customers: Key to Better Insights

By creating a continual process for following up with customers, Heineken ensures a continual dialogue with customers–key for gaining valuable insight over time. 

One of the keys for making Account Experience work is not just to follow up with detractors, but with promoters as well. “We want to hear from all our customers,” explains Visser. 

That being said, Heineken has integrated a process for their sales reps to continue dialoguing with all customers. When customers are happy, the conversation doesn’t end: Sales reps ask what more they can do to deliver an even better experience. 

Closing the Loop to Save Customers from Churn

Getting a “zero” or a “1” on the Net Promoter Score scale might seem discouraging, especially from a customer that appears to be satisfied. 

That being said, one of the most valuable things that Heineken has done is discover that not all detractors are what they seem.

In one incident, Heinken was able to “save” a client who had given them a “zero” on an NPS survey simply by having a conversation and figuring out a solution to the client’s problem. The underlying issue was not, in fact, Heineken’s service, but a financial issue on the client’s end.

The lesson? Close the loop with dissatisfied customers, and you’ll save a client...and revenue. 

Get to the Root Cause Before Acting on Feedback

Finally, getting to the root cause of a single issue can help resolve dissatisfaction or frustration with a whole contingent of customers–not just an individual client. 

Through CustomerGauge’s Account Experience program, Heineken identified a common trend of dissatisfaction with customer service. Rather than calling up all detractors, they contacted a few clients that indicated key drivers of dissatisfaction. 

The root cause? Many accounts were frustrated that they did not know who to contact at Heineken to ask specific questions. To resolve the problem without calling up every individual, Visser created an easy list of phone numbers and shareable infographics that could be easily used by customers to contact the right person. 

The Bottom Line? Communicate, Respond, and Follow Up 

Heineken’s success with CustomerGauge’s Account Experience program has been marked by a few critical practices: Communicate with both detractors and promoters; be strategic about following up; and follow up on feedback with action. The result? Happier clients, a better business, and higher revenue–in short, a win-win for everybody.

Stefan
Our VSE program is not a market research tool. It's a, what we tend to call it more of a dialogue improvement program and it's also not a couple of waves per year or one wave per year but it's a continuous process. So, if all goes well, then, every week, all the sales reps get, at least, one or two alerts in their mailbox to start calling back one of those clients. ♪ Hey, hey ♪
Ian
Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of the Account Experience podcast. Today, we welcome Stefan Visser. He's the voice of customer program lead at Heineken, Netherlands. And, full disclosure, guys, Heineken is one of CustomerGauge's fantastic customers. That being said, this episode is a can't-miss. Stefan tells a few great stories of how Heineken's experience program has impacted their business, how their sales team rallies around the customer feedback, and how closing the loop is absolutely key in their strategy. We're excited about this one so, without further ado, let's dive on in. Hello, Stefan.
Stefan
Hi, Ian. Nice to be here.
Ian
Yeah, great to have you. So, as we always start this podcast, we like to ask every guest, what does account experience mean to you? So give us a little flavor on that if you don't mind.
Stefan
Well, for us, account experience is, well, actually, what it says, the voice of the customer and, for us, the customer is the center of what we want to work around, at least. So, at Heineken, we are working towards a more customer-centric environment So we start to move, more and more in that direction. So, therefore, also NPS is becoming, at least at Heineken, ELITS is one of our core metrics to follow. So, for us, it's crucial to understand what our customers are saying to us so that we can improve our customer journey.
Ian
Cary, you've heard of Heineken once or twice, maybe in the past?
Cary
Yeah, yeah and you know, you laugh. You think, wow. I mean, come on, everyone knows Heineken. I mean, the experience is the beer. I mean, why a program, though? I mean, what's the, and you shared a little bit about that being the voice and the core, but why is it so important for you guys to have that experience?
Stefan
 Yeah, well we, of course we sell our beer to consumers, but we are in our out-of-home business so we sell it to, actually the resellers so the bars, the restaurants and those are our customers and we have a tight relationship with them. We have our sales reps visiting them on a frequent basis. So, for us to understand what makes their heart tick, is really important to that. And also, what elements of our services are they happy with but also, what can we do to improve that relationship so that they stay happy with us so that we keep the relationship with them and that they keep selling our beers towards, indeed, the end consumers?
Cary
I think that's an important point. I think not a lot of people understand that, that what you do is, you don't just drop stuff off at the grocery stores or to the pubs and people buy your product. There's this in-between who represents the Heineken brand and makes sure the distribution gets to the right places and resells that and I think that it's kind of something that a lot of people take for granted and that don't understand that in-between piece.
Stefan
I think what's also very interesting, too, the difference between the bar owner and the supermarket is that, a supermarket just sells all types of beer and all brands of beer but a bar owner makes a selection for the consumer. So, in the supermarket, you as a consumer can pick whatever you want but, at the bar, there's a limited number of brands that you can pick from. So, for us, it's important to be available, then, in those bars.
Ian
It is super interesting 'cause I think, when most people think of like a Heineken experience program, they think of direct-to-consumer but there is whole value chain approach that I think you guys are taking, which is super interesting, not talked about a lot, which is interesting as well. So yeah, I'm really excited to dive in, here. So I'll kick it back over to Carrie. I'm sure you had a follow-up question on that.
Cary
Well I think, what I'm hearing here is, can you win the hearts of that bar owner or the bartender who's serving those drinks up, or, you know, how does it become a destination for Heineken? So I'm starting to hear the answer to, like that next question I wanted to hear is, is like, what are the goals of your program? How are you using this to win their hearts over so Heineken is what they sell?
Stefan
Yeah, maybe I gave it away already, a little. So, when we started with the VOC program, is when we created a customer journey. So that's been about two years, now, that we have a customer journey in place. So we designed customer journey, there and that, in order to be a able to improve that customer journey to the full extent, we needed to understand on which of the different touch points we needed to improve. So we have a quite extensive customer journey and then, well, in order to improve it, we, first, need to start measuring and that's when I came in to start measuring, also, the different touch points and the level of satisfaction of those different touch points. And that's actually how the ball started rolling and also when we got in touch with CustomerGauge and all that.
Cary
You know, we talk about the journey all the time and how important it is. Are you comfortable sharing with us a few of your customer journey points or ones that you've realized are really important in your program?
Stefan
Actually, you are telling us what the important elements of our customer journey are, through the survey. So we identified, of course, different sectors. So we have the oboarding of the customers and that's not something we put that much into the survey, as such because it's, well once, and then you are a part of our customer crew. But then there's a cycle of ordering your beer, delivering beer to your doorstep, the account managers visiting you, and your connection with our customer services department, the financials or the invoice that you're receiving for us. So those are all different touch points that we really would like to measure on a high-frequent basis. And that helps with, then, improving those touch points.
Ian
So, just to back up a second, so you talked about, you're trying to measure the different journey points. You got brought into help facilitate that but how did you guys, like actually roll this out? So I think there's like one piece of, all right, identify the touch points through surveys, but how did you tactically roll this out? And I know your role is, every single day you're in this, so give us a little bit of detail around your daily operations and, kind of, how you rolled the program out.
Stefan
It's nice that you ask this. It's quite funny way we did that was, we just started doing it.
Ian
Yeah.
Stefan
Maybe a bit of the Nike approach. So it's a nice story to tell. So we were in touch with CustomerGauge, I think it was in Fall, 2019, and then we just started the pilot with you guys and we took one of our sales regents and started drawing up the survey where it's still quite the same as it was back then. We made some slight changes. But it was a really short survey and started experiencing the power of a VOC program. And then, also, I think that's one of the moments where we started to learn where the real power of it is and, for us, it's in closing the loop. And I remember that we were with the different sales reps who were able to, well, we wanted to, close that loop. We were in a football stadium, or you would say a soccer stadium, I think, and we had done the survey. We sent out the survey to, I think, 600 clients then. Some of them were responding already and giving us one's and zero's and two's but also ten's and nine's, of course. So it was quite balanced. I think our NPS score was quite balanced then. And what we asked to those sales rep is to pull back those customers, especially the ones who were the detractors. And that's when some anxiety kicked in for some of them, I think, 'cause it's quite scary, at first, to start pulling back a client who gave you a zero or a one just 48 hours ago or less than that.
Ian
Yeah.
Stefan
But all those conversations, so, of course, we sat down with them first and said, "Okay, what you need to do, first, is listen "and take out the emotion "'cause somebody gave us, as Heineken, a zero. "Not you, personally, but us as Heineken, a zero." And then we need to take out that emotion first. So, sit down, ask them or tell them, "Thank you for your feedback. "We really appreciate it that you took the time "to answer some of our questions." And then start asking them why they are dissatisfied and then all those conversations turn out positive. So, first of all, everybody was surprised that we called back, anyway and then, at least within 48 hours, was an extra surprise and then they started explaining a bit more why they were not so happy with what we were doing and that we could really take that as a, well, as the feedback that we need to improve either our processes or the individual approach with a client. So, most of them, they started setting up a meeting and discussing other things and sometimes it even led to an increase of revenue which is, in the end, what we are doing it for. But, well, what we're doing it for is, mainly, to get satisfied clients and then satisfied clients should lead to more revenue and that's not intended to be the first outcome of the VOC program.
Cary
I'm over here, just real giddy right now 'cause, for a couple of reasons. First off, we just did it. We just launched it, you, know? It wasn't this extravagant, kind of, big plan and we're gonna do this, staggered or anything and watching you guys, kind of, be brave and go out there and do that, I did hear you use the word "most" a lot. So it sounded like most of the team was bought-in. When they saw the feedback, there was a little bit of apprehension about, what do I say, or some fear there but would you say it was, mostly, bought-in and then how do you tackle some of that resistance? I know you talked about sitting down and pulling the emotion out but was there still resistance at that point or do you have a culture, now, where everyone's just doing it and not even thinkin' about it? How has that progressed?
Stefan
Yeah well, at least I'm hoping that we have that. I'm sure that not everybody is on board as much as we would like to be. So the buy-in from all the sales reps, but also the sales managers and customer care agents, that's something that we need to keep paying attention to that will always be a pitfall that we need to be careful of.
Cary
 Well, I guess, let me boil it down: how do you get them interested?
Stefan
It's by starting and it's by explaining, by really taking, putting them also in the center and for them to understand that our VOC program is not a market research tool. It's what we tend to call it, more of a dialogue improvement program and it's also not a couple of waves per year or one wave per year but it's a continuous process. So, if all goes well, then every week, all the sales reps get at least one or two alerts in their mailbox to start calling back one of those clients. It can be a detractor but, in the end, it's also the promoted and the passives that we are sending alerts to our sales reps about. Actually, that's something they requested from us. So, at first, we were only sending alerts for detractors. So pull back those detractors because they are unhappy with us at this point in time but then they said, "Okay, we want to hear from all our clients." And, of course, we have it registered in our CRM system but they just wanted to be really close on it. So also, when they get a ten, they wanted to call the promoter and say, okay, thank you for your feedback. Is there anything else we can do for you? So keep that dialogue going. So that was also really surprising to us, in the VOC program, that that was the feedback that we got from the sales reps, to begin with.
Ian
I think that's really cool that they requested the additional feedback. I mean, that's such a crazy thing to say, out loud because we've talked to a lot of companies, in the past, that, there's resistance and it's hard to get buy-in for a program and when you have the other side coming back to you and saying, "No, we want more of this." Like, bring it on. I think that means that you've established something that's very valuable in their minds. So, bravo. I think that's hard to do. And it's cool
Stefan
Yeah. No, and it was, it's up to the sales reps to do it, in the end, and to keep believing in the philosophy. But it pays out and, actually, it was yesterday that I had a discussion with one of our sales reps and he had, well we published on our workplace, our Heineken workplace, we posted that one of our clients gave us a zero and then our work director or our out-of-home director, he was asking, "Okay, I'm curious why this guy is so unhappy." So, and it was all friendly atmosphere, there. So I gave our sales rep a call and he explained to me what was going on and there was something with the finances of the guy but the process was quite funny, also they are 'cause what happened is that the sales rep talked to the customer a couple of days before we sent out the NPS survey. So the NPS survey goes out, automatically, so he wasn't aware of that. Nobody was aware of that. But, a couple of days before we sent out the NPS survey, he could not fix the issue of the customer because, well, because of good reasons. So there's no issue there. But the customer stayed a bit disgruntled about that. So then, in the NPS survey, he was like, okay, now you can have it here, right? So I'm not happy with you so I give you a zero and I tell you in the comments why I gave you a zero and then, let's see what happens here, expecting nothing to happen from it. But what happened, the sales rep picked up the phone, called him back within 24 hours, and they already both knew what it was about. So the sales rep called the client because, well, because he filled out the survey, so the client said, "Yeah, you're calling because of the survey." And the sales rep said, "Yeah and you filled out the survey "because of the financial issues that we're having." And they started the conversation and it was, he told me it was quite a positive conversation, in the end, and they also worked towards a solution to the problem and then the customer was saved, also, for us. And so we have another happy customer. And I think it's also where the power lies that, if you have a customer that is unhap, well, if you have a happy customer, that's great. Of course it's great. But if you have an unhappy customer and you can make him into a happy customer then it's creating, also, loyalty. So that's really, also, what's so crucial in the VOC program, that we close that loop. And this is, then, what we closed, the inner loop, so, based on the more operational elements.
Cary
I love this because, I know, when you tell the story it sounds so simple and it sounds like, oh, no big deal with that. But, first off, there's a lot of companies who can't get to that point.
Ian
Yeah.
Cary
 But this speaks to culture in so many ways; having the right people, the right form of communication, having everyone, almost like a transparency of, this is our business, this is what we need to do, everyone moving in the same direction with the same purpose. I can't tell you how powerful that story is.
Stefan
This is, well, this is one of the multiple examples that we have on this but it's also, well, one of the examples. So we don't where it's always happening, of course, so we keep sharing these kind of stories or, at least, we want to keep sharing these kind of stories that all these conversations turn out positive and it is about the dialogue with our customers. So, if you are in the gastronomy industry, it's a relationship business from bar owner to consumer but also from supplier to bar owner. So that's where it's, well, where we need to make the differences.
Ian
And, just going back to that original, kind of like, test that you guys sent out of the pilot, was there any big, kind of, ah-ha moments where you're like, wow we need to change this right now? And did you change anything in the business, immediately, based off of that feedback?
Stefan
So you're referring to what we call, the outer loop, then, so make structural changes in our consumer journey.
Ian
Yeah.
Stefan
Well it didn't come, really, from the pilot and, unfortunately, we did the pilot in the end of 2019 so we decided then to then, okay, take a step back to set up a full program so a lot of training material was created. Those are for our sales reps. And then we wanted to launch in March 2020. Don't know if you remember what happened in March, 2020. At least, in the Netherlands, the whole gastronomy industry closed down because of COVID, of course. So we needed to postpone that. But then, in the second half of last year, then we were continuously sending out the survey, even when the gastronomy industry was in lockdown because we wanted to keep in touch with our clients. They were not doing any business, we were not doing any business with them but, in the future, we still wanted to continue that business that we did in the past, of course. So we kept surveying them and that's also when we start finding out more of the things that we needed to improve. So, one small example, but also maybe how we did that, that may be also interesting for you to understand how we are taking that more structural changes, so what we call the outer loop. So we dive into the feedback that we're getting. So we see, for instance, in this case it was that we saw some negative feedback coming in towards our customer service team. So we wanted to get to the root of that so we start calling a couple of clients who take that driver in the survey and then we say, "Okay, what is it, really, that you need from us?" And it became clear to us that there was not always clear for all our customers who they should call, with what type of questions. So there's a lot of different desks that you can go towards within Heineken, when it comes down to finances, invoicing, or delivery, or ordering, all those kind of things. So we wanted to and, if they come in at one point, for us to put them to the right one, we'd rather have them pull the right number immediately, of course. So what did we do? It was really a small exercise, what we created, a list of phone numbers with a nice infographic that we can share with our customers, online. They can print it out. I think we even created stickers that they can put on the wall or on their phone or, if there's still a fixed phone there, so that they know exactly who to call for what issue. So that's also how we approach it. So we see something happening in the survey results and just start calling up other clients to see, okay, what do we need to do for you? And sometimes it's small things, so like this one. But, of course, there's also larger things that we need to improve in our processes, for instance, our ordering platform. That's also something that we could see improving.
Ian
I want to address the opening room then I'm gonna pass it off to Carrie 'cause I know you want to talk on this one. But Heineken's a big company. Like, you guys are, you're global and you have a massive distribution network. You have a ton of consumers that, obviously, drink your products. I think, going back to your original story of like, the shock of somebody following up with them, within 24 hours of a survey, that's one thing but then, addressing these types of business issues with agility, like getting the phone tree out, getting the stickers. I mean, that is, again, something that is really impressive for your size but also just the fact, like Carrie said, it's built in your culture. You're getting the feedback to start those conversations but you're also addressing some of the issues that may occur in that feedback, that come up through drivers and things like that. So I just want to point that out that that's really hard to do and I think it's very impressive. So Carrie, I know you've got a bunch of things you want to unload, too. So I just wanted to point that out.
Cary
You know, every time I hear this story, I'm just a super-fan. I just keep getting excited and wanting to cheer every time you say it because these are the things that move forward and listen, you hear Heineken. Heineken's been around for a while. It's not like this young, agile, small company. Ian has a really good point; you guys are a large organization and I just love hearing the stories. But I guess my question is now, now that you're here, you have a successful program. You know, it's giving you good insight. So you guys have a two-loop system that you're working. It really sounds like the dialogue is regular. Now where? What are the plans? Where is the plan for Heineken to take this? What does the next couple of months look like? The next year? How are you guys going to grow? 'Cause something tells me you guys don't sit still very long.
Stefan
Yeah. No, we still have a lot to do here and I think we, well, we started working on, especially on closing the different loops that we have. So that's where we keep focusing, so we start improving and to see where our NPS scores are going. But, in the same time, we are only measuring a couple of our touch points. But not all the touch points are relevant, for all customers, so we also want to set up a couple of more transactional-based touch points. So we are expanding the surveys but then there's also the question coming in, okay, how many surveys can you actually send to a single customer? So there's a lot of things that, those kind of challenges that are occurring. So we have the transactional surveys that we want to increase and we'll be great, we can start increasing it towards five or maybe 10 different touch points in 2021. And, in the same time, we also want to start monetizing our NPS's, as you would call it, to start diving more deep on the unethical side. So, how we are approaching it now, is really pragmatic and we just, we see that something is, some element has a negative impact on our NPS score, so we dive deep in it and start seeking for opportunities to fix it. But we can also start monetizing it and look more towards strategizing the output that we're getting. So, and then it comes down to, okay, which client should we pay more attention to than others? Is it, in terms of visiting frequency, or other elements of our sales strategies or should we, what's the difference? Are there differences between different types of clients? So, is there a difference between bars or restaurants, for instance? And those kind of analysis is something that we just started doing and there's a lot more things that we can do on that.
Cary
Yeah, I love the progression 'cause it's, I mean, the initial feedback and the reaction was, it's all equally important, so we need to act on it. And, now that you've got that rhythm down, now it's like, let's be strategic. If we can weight that by dollars and cents or pounds or Euros, wherever we're at in the globe, then we can start saying, hey, maybe there's a group approach to this but maybe this one needs a special touch or special attention. I guess my other question, too, I was really curious 'cause you talked about the different departments and having who to call. How is this impacting the whole organization? How is this starting to bleed into all the different aspects of Heineken in different departments? 'Cause I hear you talking about that, is, how are you communicating it? How are they feeding into this?
Stefan
Yeah, well, that's also something we need to start doing more and more. So we focus a lot on our sales reps 'cause they are the point of contact for our customers but there's also the other departments that we would like to, they would like to get more understanding of their impact on NPS and what they can do. And now we're getting some questions, here and there but we also should start pushing, more and more, what we can do for them. And that's also, I think, where the transactional surveys can come into play. So, for instance, after a delivery or after a customer has on-boarded, so we can understand, also, the on-boarding process a bit better. So those kind of things, that's really crucial to get more to the deeper level. And also, by sharing the results that we currently have, based on our approach, if we start sharing them more and more in the wide company, then they will probably come, also, more towards us, to understand more what they can learn from our NPS program. So it's about spreading the oil stain and I don't know if that's an English expression, also. It's definitely a Dutch one. So we want to expand expand the impact that we can make with our NPS program by keep sharing our stories.
Cary
Yeah. Again, I know you're painting this beautiful picture, so I have to be the bad guy here and ask this question. Let's see how much you're willing to share. What challenges, though, have you run into? So I hear all the things that are working, very inspirational, but what were some of the obstacles or some of the things you guys ran into that makes this a little bit of a challenge?
Stefan
We really got a momentum at the start but it's, with the bars and restaurants closed, it's difficult to keep that momentum going, also. We have a very large stakeholder group to keep the interaction going with and that's really our main challenge, for the rest of the year, to really make, we call it NPS to-the-max, so maximize the impact that we can make with our NPS program. And the analytics is really the big challenge that we need to pick up. Also, because the trend that we're currently seeing in NPS, might not reflect the current market because there's so much going on in the market and we should try to link it with other kind, other data points that are interesting. So, of course, one of the things that pops into your mind, at first, is that you would like to correlated your NPS to your turn rate, for instance. Can you start predicting turn, based on your NPS results? And if you can, can you correlate it with other figures that we have available? If we can do those kind of things, then it can become even more powerful. But it's, well, it's difficult to make that happen. Also, in a company where resources are becoming more and more limited because we're not selling any beer to our bar owners. So that's definitely a challenge to keep that priority high on the list.
Ian
This episode of the Account Experience podcast is sponsored by CustomerGauge, the leading B2B Account Experience software that ties revenue to your experience data, in real time, to help you make better, account-centric decisions that drive revenue growth. Quick question: What do you guys think is the number one reason B2B experience programs fail? Believe it or not, it's lack of C-Sweep buy-in. In CustomerGauge's research with MIT, they found the quickest way to align yourselves with a C-Sweep is to actually align with what they care about most, which is revenue. That's why CustomerGauge is, literally, built from the ground up to maximize and track the revenue contribution, Premier Experience program, in real time. Companies like DHL, Anheuser-Busch, Heineken, yeah, we could have got him a free beer. One log-in. Iron Mountain, H&R Block, SuperOffice, and SugarCRM are already using CustomerGauge to maximize their growth by tying their programs to revenue. And with over $10 billion worth of account revenue, actively being managed in CustomerGauge, yeah that's billion with a B, they're the leader in this biz. But maybe, even more interesting, they found that, once you get alignment with that C-Sweep, the needs of these B2B practitioners, or the program champions, are evolving too. In such a complex-account environment, it can be really tough to measure and act on feedback, quickly, across multiple departments, divisions, or even locations. Luckily, CustomerGauge has you covered there, as well. With account-native features that easily help you, not only measure the feedback from multiple stakeholders in an account, but act on that feedback, in real time. Because, at the end of the day, if you're not empowering your frontline staff with the right insights to address customer issues, you're going to be dealing with a turn issue. It's not a matter of "if," it's really a matter of "when." CustomerGauge helps you distribute this experience data across your entire organization, regardless of department, regardless of location, regardless of division, all in real time. No manual spreadsheets or a team of analysts are needed. CustomerGauge's mission is to help B2B companies harness the power of account-centric growth, to drive meaningful change in their businesses and that's a powerful thing. If you want to see CustomerGauge in action, go ahead and check out customergauge.com and get a demo of Account Experience, today. You won't regret it.
Cary
So tell us a little bit, how are you using the feedback, the information in your program? How are you using it to impact the culture?
Stefan
Yeah, I think it's great that you mention culture, there, because I think it's really important for our customer-centric culture to get really in touch with our customers and our VOC program really helps, there. And it's about, it's the drivers that we start understanding more what's important to them but it's definitely the comments that make everything come to life and also be more in touch with our customers. So, before, we are only in touch with our customers when we visit them or when we call them or when they have a complaint towards us. But now we're also reaching out to them, okay, what's happening with you and what can we do to help you? And that's really becoming more and more customer-centric and I think that's where we, as a company, want to move towards and that's helping a lot.
Cary
 Yeah, Ian talks about that all the time, about, I love it's like opening up another channel and being able to listen to just one more source of that, so I love that.
Ian
You mention you had a stakeholder group. I'm kind of just curious, is that, and I know the program kind of sits in sales right now, for the most part. You're spending a lot of your time getting sales reps up and running because the points of the relationship but is that stakeholder group, is that spread across all the different departments?
Stefan
I think, one of the really big stakeholders is within our customer care team, also, who need to do a lot of the operational work, once it's pushed forward, from the sales team, towards them. But we need to make sure that they understand exactly what they need to do and how to close it, in a loop. 'Cause if there's an issue with one of the customers, then they also need to fix it or they need to find the right person to fix it and then close the loop, back to the customer. So that's where the real value, also lies. So it's not only about the sales rep, closing the loop about communicating, but it's also about fixing the issue and that's something that we can do, not only from our NPS program, but also from a larger extent. So, but that's very operational. But then, also, from a strategic level, then we start discussing with our sales teams, but also with our services team, so, with our invoicing team, so what can you do to improve to keep all those stakeholders on the forefront of NPS? For our NPS program, that's quite difficult endeavor, small team that we have available to run the NPS program, correctly.
Ian
Yeah, it's kind of why I asked because I imagine the environment's pretty dynamic, right, where you have a good amount of sales reps, you have a good amount of feedback coming in, you have to liaise with the service teams. That's a lot of dotted lines going on. So yeah, I just wanted a little bit more detail around that. So thank you for that.
Cary
I am curious, so we have this dynamic company, you have a day-to-day operation. There's a lot of moving pieces here, a lot of data. I know that we're all data geeks and we just love looking at something that tells a story but I guess my question, what I'd really love to know is, how are you communicating this, up?
Ian
Yeah.
Cary
So, listen. We all have a boss of some sort, whether it's an investor, a board, or whoever it might be. But I think that's one of the challenges, too, is how do you, then, take all this that's happening and communicate that up to them so they can get a snapshot of its success and impact on the business?
Stefan
I think where the power of creating buy-in lies in the role of feedback that you're getting from your customers. So that makes it really come to life. So, if you start sharing, also, the direct comments on a live ticker or share it here and there. So we have a newsletter that's being sent out every week. So there's always, there's at least one comment in there and that makes it come to life. So it's not the word-clouds that you create with what are the most common topics that are mentioned in the comments but it's those one or two that are really, that can be really positive or it can be really critical, but that makes it come to life. And then, also, the management, who is already a lot in touch with our customers, but they get even more, a bigger feel of what's happening within those different customer segments. So that's really powerful so that engages them a lot. I think that's where the power lies.
Cary
I love that. I love just making it come to life with a quote or a statement and it puts the individual back into the whole process and I love that.
Ian
Thank you so much, Stefan, for joining us on the Account Experience podcast. It's been an absolute pleasure. I know I speak for Carrie and myself, so thank you for joining us.
Stefan
Well thank you for having me.
Ian
Of course and where can people find you?
Stefan
If you want to find me, you can definitely find me on LinkedIn and, hopefully soon, in one of our great terraces in Amsterdam or any other region in ELITS.
Ian
There you go. We'll take you up on that especially with the snow on the ground, over here. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you, guys, for listening. This has been the Account Experience podcast and we'll talk soon.

Next Up: Client Experience with H&R Block: Collecting Data, Equipping the Front Line, & Getting Buy-In From All Departments

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