Unsung Heroes of the Customer Experience: Your Back Office


Believe it or not, your non-customer facing employees, from Sales, Support to Finance, to Legal, are the foundation on which great customer experiences are built. Yet, too often, organizations don’t realize this, or they forget the importance of the support team until it’s too late and your customers begin leaving for your competitors.

If you work in a sales function, take a moment to read the story below and consider the importance of your support team. If you’re in support, take a moment to pat yourself on the back!


Connecting Customer Experience and Your Brand Promise


If your company is looking to strengthen its brand, consider including the customer experience as a key component of your strategy. The customer experience matters, because brands are built on promises made real.

Consciously or subconsciously, your customers compare what your company logos and slogans are saying to what you’re actually doing. If you consistently make good on the promises you make, your brand grows stronger over time.

This type of comparison is truer today than ever, given how easy it is for customers to share their experiences with your brand, and the fact that they trust each other more than they trust your advertising.

In a recent report, I prepared for a group of clients; I compared how likely customers would be to recommend our clients to someone else (as measured by the Net Promoter Score*, NPS) this year compared to a year ago. NPS is a useful indicator of a company’s brand in action.

Several clients showed significant year-over-year improvement, and several went the other way. I selected the top two and the bottom two performers and looked at responses to other questions on the surveys we conducted to see why customers were more or less likely to recommend our clients. Here are the key findings from that exercise:

  • Customer sentiment can shift, quickly. The top two performing clients had an average NPS improvement of 16 points from 2015 to 2016 while the bottom two performing clients had an average decline of 10 points. These are significant swings in a one year period.
  • Consistency, consistency, consistency. While the scores on the other questions asked were higher for the top performing dealer were higher in most all cases, what was most noteworthy for the higher performing dealer was the consistency. The standard deviation on the question responses was much lower for the top performing dealers than was the case for the dealers with an NPS decline. The key message is consistency does matter. When customers know what to expect, they reward you with great loyalty.
  • Commitment and communication. The top performing clients performed especially well on what I call “commitment and communication” questions. These are questions such as:
    • Ease of contact and placing an order
    • Communication
    • Repair completed when promised
    • Invoice matched expectations
    • Knowledgeable and properly equipped employees

Many companies make a brand promise. Some are better at making it real than others. These top performing clients are making their brand promise real and tangible. Customers experience it and recognize it by the scores they give. They experience that brand promise most every time they come in contact with these top performing clients.

To strengthen your brand over time, consider investing as much or more effort on improving the quality of your customer experiences as you do on your company’s logos and advertising messages. Customers will reward you for making your promises real.

Lynn Daniel

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.


Who Moved My Cheese(burger)?


Imagine you ordered a cheeseburger.  But as you prepare to dig in, you discover there is no cheese.  Now you just have a burger.  I recently spoke to a customer who had a “burger only” experience.  He rented a backhoe and was ready to dig in at his construction site.  But the bucket was loose and the dig was a disaster. You guessed it — no cheese.


Rethinking Risk in Customer Experience Improvement

Customer Experience Improvement

This summer, we finished rewriting a major part of our customer portal software to make it easier to use.

It took a lot of time, money, nights and weekends, and we ran into our fair share of bugs and headaches along the way.

After we had launched the update, I thought “rewrites aren’t for the risk averse!”


Easier, Faster, Friendlier: Customer Expectations Are Rising

Customer Expectations

First, I must attribute the idea for the blog to Doug Fowler, our COO. After one particular frustrating service call with a software provider, he came into my office and said “Let’s look for another vendor. It is just too difficult to deal with this company!”His frustration got me thinking about how customer expectations are always changing.


Using Neuroscience to Understand Your Customer

Neuroscience and understanding your customer

Our business helps clients improve the service experiences they provide to their customers.  When we start working with a new client, it is always an interesting experience.  Typically, the first concern is being flooded by disputes through our interviewers in the course of following up with customers.  “Will our staff be able to handle them?” lamented one senior manager.  In another case, after three months of surveying, an executive vice president of a company came into the office of our contact and questioned the validity of the numbers.  In his words, “Our customers don’t like us this much!”


Creative Destruction: Innovation Vs Destruction

Creative Destruction

In 1942 Joseph Schumpeter, an economist, coined the phrase “creative destruction” to describe the process by which innovation continually upends products and markets.  After reading excerpts of his writings this week, I thought about three simple examples outlined below.  But the key message is that product manufacturers cannot assume the products they sell now will be in demand in the future.