In this video, Kirk Kaiser, Director of Sales Effectiveness, NMC, discusses some lessons learned in his CX experience with Lynn Daniel, CEO, The Daniel Group.
Lynn Daniel (00:02):
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Lynn Daniel, I’m with the Daniel Group, I’m here today with Kurt Kaiser. He’s director of sales effectiveness for NMC out in Omaha, Nebraska. And welcome, Kirk, thanks for joining me today. I appreciate it.
Kirk Kaiser (00:19):
Great to be here, Lynn.
Lynn Daniel (00:21):
First of all, before we get into what we’re going to talk about today, tell us a little bit about NMC.
Kirk Kaiser (00:29):
Yeah, so NMC, we’re located, headquartered out of Omaha, Nebraska. We are the Caterpillar dealer inside of the state of Nebraska, and we have locations spread all across the state.
Lynn Daniel (00:43):
Now, I want to talk with you today about some lessons learned in your CX experience. NMC has been a client since about 2010. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned over these years?
Kirk Kaiser (01:01):
Yeah, good question, Lynn. So here at NMC we’ve had a great team focused on customer experience, as you said, since 2010. I came on and started having a focus around customer experience and became the NMC customer experience champion right about a year ago. So again, this year definitely has learned a lot in the last 12 months, but there’s been some things that I think have popped up over the years, as well as here in the recent past. Probably the first one is that customer expectations in the marketplace is constantly changing. So again, it’s imperative to keep asking the questions, and most importantly, listen and then do something about it. Whether it’s processes to fix or continuous improvement or things that you need to duplicate so that other customers may have that same experience, I think, is pretty critical.
Kirk Kaiser (01:58):
The other thing, I think it needs to be very aligned with the mission and the vision of the dealership. I think that’s very, very important as we work to create it as a part of the culture at NMC and how we approach things and what we do. And that voice of customer, lastly, is paramount. And whatever we can do to capture more of that. Again, your team does a great job of asking those good questions and then capturing those critical insights around that voice of customer, is going to keep us moving on the right track moving forward.
Lynn Daniel (02:37):
One of the things you’ve talked about is how you’ve put this into part of the fabric of NMC. What are some of the things you’ve done to make it part of the fabric, make CX part of the fabric?
Kirk Kaiser (02:49):
Yeah, great question. So day one we have a whole segment with our new hires that come on board around the foundational and the philosophy of customer experience at NMC, what that looks like, what the expectations are. And again, I think it’s very, very important to start out right out of the gate, is to clearly communicate the why so folks can better understand that, but then also explain and show the what’s in it for them. As we think about really getting, start out on the right foot, getting them on board so that when they hit the ground running that’s just part of how they operate.
Kirk Kaiser (03:34):
The other part is, and actually the COVID pandemic has really offered us some opportunities to do just like what we’re doing here today, and to leverage technology and to develop and facilitate trainings around customer experience on the virtual platform. So that’s been very, very positive and we’ve done many trainings around CX. Again, trying to get specifically bringing it to life at the role level. So again, we take that theoretical of what customer experience is and what we want to do, and we help folks really bring that down so they can hear it, see it, feel it, if you will, in their everyday interactions with customers. And that’s been very positive, the sharing and collaboration has been a very, very positive thing.
Lynn Daniel (04:29):
Good. What two or three changes have you made, either in process or in other aspects of your company, as a result of your work on CX that really generated the most significant changes for you?
Kirk Kaiser (04:46):
Yeah, again, we’re very, very fortunate, we have a fantastic team at NMC with a passion to serve customers. And I think in this journey that we’ve been on, again, as you mentioned, since 2010, and what we’ve learned in this unprecedented last few months, is that we’re going to continue that role-based training. And as we get into really cascading that to other departments, we started out with the parts counter, getting that shifted over to service managers, field technicians, folks at the rental counter, at the front desk. And I think it’s going to be very critical.
Kirk Kaiser (05:26):
The second thing that we started doing, it was great because we were able to pull this reporting right off of the Daniel Group portal, is really started leveraging data to help tell the story and really to drive home the why, if you will. So that’s been key, and it’s been very eye-opening, I think, for some as we analyze that, of how obviously we’re in the equipment business and have been for many years, but we’re in the people business. And I think that’s going to be very, very critical as we continue to adapt and evolve with the customer and the marketplace. So that data focus has really helped tell the story and really helped us drive home some of those things, Lynn.
Lynn Daniel (06:14):
Good. You have an interesting position in that you work on sales effectiveness and you’re also responsible for CX.
Kirk Kaiser (06:25):
Lynn Daniel (06:26):
So you’re in a little bit of a unique situation compared to others that I have worked with. In what ways, if any, are you using the customer feedback you get in your other job, your sales effectiveness, how are you integrating those two?
Kirk Kaiser (06:44):
Yeah, excellent question. I would say again, I go back to the data, really, and understanding a key part of, especially around the promoter, passive and attractor reasons, that key question of the likelihood that you would refer NMC to others. And that’s key for a sales rep and really for a sales focused environment. It’s about building the business within that territory. And that’s a critical piece, especially as more and more customers place more weight and value on customer experience now more than maybe they ever have. And we anticipate that to continue as we get farther along. The other thing that we bring all together then from a sales side around customer experience is, again, as the marketplace again becomes more and more competitive and obviously competition improves and that gap shrinks, customer experience and our approach and the things that we do as individuals and as a team can be key differentiators versus the competition out in the marketplace. So we talk about that a lot.
Kirk Kaiser (08:00):
Then on the flip side, as we think about, whether it’s the function of the roles at the parts counter or the rental counter or at the service desk, et cetera, how do we then take those basic principles that are very similar in customer experience as in sales, around being curious and asking great questions, understanding some of those concerns and that, to really make sure that we’re working with the customer to help them find the right solution? And that drives customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and then ultimately revenue as well.
Lynn Daniel (08:38):
I’m glad you talked a bit about referrals, because one of the things we’ve learned over the years is, depending on the market, depending on which area of the country, really, somewhere between 30% and 40% of your customers are given an active referral, meaning they said to somebody else they need to go to visit NMC, over the last six months. But the interesting thing also is, about 90% of those referrals come from those who gave a nine or 10 on the net promoter score.
Kirk Kaiser (09:11):
Lynn Daniel (09:12):
So it’s really critical to your marketing efforts. One last question. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your customers as a result of this feedback process and hearing from them daily, both informally and more formally with what we do? What is the most important thing you guys have learned?
Kirk Kaiser (09:38):
Yeah, we’ve learned a lot, Lynn, and will continue to do that as, again, the mindset is, as Thomas Edison said, there’s a better way and go find it to do it, and you’ve got to go find it. but one of the things I think as we look back and through the data, as we continue to focus on, is that communication piece. Again, I think that that’s going to be paramount. It has been, I think it will be moving forward, especially as customer expectations, as we talked about earlier, change. And really what we’re conditioned as consumers and buyers out in our personal lives around how other companies communicate with us and things. And again, I think not only it’s about updates and keeping them in the loop, but really that focus around being proactive.
Kirk Kaiser (10:27):
A customer shouldn’t be surprised or they shouldn’t be left wondering and hanging and things like that. And they want that information, they want to be in the know, they want responsiveness. They don’t want to have to chase somebody down, if you will, to find out information. And I think that’s just a key hub of that enabled success, and I think in a lot of these other areas, is really around that communication focus.
Lynn Daniel (10:54):
Great. Kirk, I really appreciate it, thanks a lot for telling us about your journey. And I look forward to continuing to work with NMC. So thanks a lot, and I’ll talk with you later.
Kirk Kaiser (11:07):
Thank you, Lynn.