What Did We Learn to Improve CX? – The Daniel Group 2022 Client Conference
Our annual conference theme, Dollars & Sense, suggests the two primary foci of our conference: 1.) how does better CX improve business outcomes and 2.) how to use CX metrics most effectively. First, we want to share some of what we learned to improve CX. Then, over the coming months, we will present more in-depth discussions of the significant conference components to help you improve your CX program.
Who was there?
Most of our clients had a representative there; several had multiple attendees. Our clients include about 80% of the Caterpillar dealers in North America, along with companies like AGCO, Navistar, Okuma, Great Dane, Equipment Depot, and Thomas Built Buses. All are B2B companies generally selling and supporting complex and expensive products. Most face the same challenges when improving CX.
Does Better CX Payoff at the Bottom Line?
Admittedly, it is hard to measure the financial benefits because the impacts often occur outside the organization (e.g., a referral from a satisfied customer or an existing customer who does not “shop” because of service and product quality). Our keynote speaker, Fred Reichheld, presented a new way of evaluating the financial impact of better CX. His latest book, Winning on Purpose, outlines the Earned Growth Rate metric, a simple metric that allows you to track the revenue you earn from excellent customer experience.
Fred Reichheld is the developer of the Net Promoter System (NPS)® and was an early advocate of the importance of customer experience to a company’s growth. His new book is well worth reading. If you would like a copy autographed by Fred, let me know. Supplies are limited.
Another Way To Measure CX Outcomes?
Following Fred Reichheld’s presentation, Marty Yuzwa, Six Sigma Manager, Ohio Machinery, led a session on how his company measures CX outcomes. He showed how improved CX was one of the keys to helping the company improve customer count and revenue. His approach is straightforward: they measure customer count over time and compare the count change with the change in key CX metrics.
The most critical idea Marty presented was that Ohio Machinery creates conversations about its customers through its feedback process. He compared the highly successful safety program the company implemented many years ago to its CX approach. The safety program was behavior-based and encouraged employees to talk about safety. They modified the approach for CX and encouraged employees to have conversations to discuss what went right or wrong with a customer’s experience. It is working, given their increasing customer count, and improving revenue.
How to Engage Frontline Employees in CX?
Bryan Gregory, Leader, Customer Experience, Carter Machinery, outlined what they are doing to better engage frontline workers in improving CX. One of the critical things Bryan outlined was the strategy to engage employees and customers.
Below are a few of the components of this strategy:
- Give customers a voice across the organization. Ensure frontline leaders are accessible to customers and they have the power to act.
- Create a consistent feedback cadence to Executive Leadership. Senior leaders must know where things stand.
- Create a VOC hub of content accessible for all to use in meetings/presentations. Encourage people to use the content.
- Use videos, photos, blogs, and newsletters. The more visual it is, the better.
- CX managers regularly connect with frontline (Store & Area Managers). The corporate team is seen as helpers who build trust and help frontline managers serve customers even better.
- Connect with Continuous Improvement Teams to create Operational & CX Standards that are co-dependent.
The strategy works as Carter has improved its CX metrics significantly over the past two years. One of the most important things they have done is to tell powerful CX stories, mainly using their customers’ feedback. Creating strong internal awareness of CX has been critical to this company’s success.
Connecting CX and Marketing—How?
We are seeing more evidence that traditional marketing approaches are becoming less effective. For example, we conducted a research project not long ago, and one of the questions asked was about the sources of information buyers used when purchasing construction equipment. The top three mentions were; Feedback from Other Users, Previous Relationship with the Company, and Previous Purchases. These three sources accounted for over 50% of the mentions. On the other hand, visits to either the OEM or dealer website combined were only mentioned by 13% of respondents.
Connecting CX and Marketing is ever more critical. Denise Herrera-Wieters, Senior Director, Marketing, Marcom & Customer Experience, HOLT CAT (San Antonio, TX), outlined how they have integrated marketing and CX. In addition, to call center management and CX training, Denise oversees retail experience (signage, etc.), internal communications, and social media and PR. Customer Experience reports through the marketing organization at HOLT. The company views its marketing activities as part of the customer experience. In her view, these activities significantly impact the customer experience, and including them in the broad CX umbrella improves the overall experience for HOLT customers. Because of this close integration, feedback from the CX program makes its way into marketing uses.
Learn to Improve CX through Implementation
Equipment Depot is one of the largest material handling dealers in the US. The company has over 50 locations in twenty-five states. The company has grown organically, and through acquisitions, so many different cultures exist. All of this made the job of implementing a CX program more difficult. Carol Tesarek, Director of Customer Experience, began this challenging journey in early 2021. She shared some of the lessons from this experience.
- Find the need—what is missing in your organization for your customers?
- CX was (and is) a new concept. Don’t assume managers understand what is involved. It was necessary to educate them on what is involved in creating better CX to create more interest and support from management.
- This program isn’t about the CX leader—it’s really about your employees. Make sure they understand that.
- The CX program exposed a need for data integration. We did not, and do not yet, have the accurate customer data needed.
Sustaining the shift towards a customer-centric culture means a focus on employees. For example, rather than starting meetings with a sales update, start with a customer feedback update.
- It is essential to understand business operations to improve CX. Achieving good operational performance is necessary to create good CX.
Is it working for Equipment Depot? CX metrics are improving. There is increasing internal engagement around CX. In a little over a year, the company was recognized with gold, silver, and bronze awards from the US Customer Experience Awards. In the years to come, we will hear more about this company’s CX improvement program and its impact on its customers and the company.
Our Researchers Make a Difference!
One of the conference highlights was having some of our researchers present in a panel discussion. Our clients asked questions about the job they do for them. The researchers shared suggestions on ways our clients could make the researchers’ jobs easier. It was a lively and informative interchange. The conference feedback showed how much our clients loved this conference portion.
New Insights from The Daniel Group
We have over one million surveys in our database. This information provides insights that help our clients improve their CX performance. Doug Fowler, our COO, shared two critical pieces of information at the conference.
The first is the importance of consistency. We plotted the NPS and standard deviation for each of our client locations. In figure one, you see just how important consistency is to CX performance. Figure 2 highlights the Remarkably Inconsistent locations. As the few outliers in the upper right of the chart suggest, it is possible to have good CX performance while being less consistent. But, boy, being consistent certainly helps.
The second gleaning from our database is about customers in the middle. These customers give a middling score on the likelihood to recommend (NPS)—the dreaded seven or eight. We are frequently asked if it is possible to change them. From our data, here is what we learned.
We identified customers who gave a Passive NPS rating during their first interview in the 2020-2022 period. We then found the next interview these same individual customers had during the period. We found that over 50% of them moved from Passive to Promoters, even though they indicated nothing could have been better in the first interview. To move them to Promoters, required a better experience. The customers who became Promoters mentioned Ease of Doing Business, Staff Professionalism, Friendly Staff, Timeliness of Service, and Communication much more frequently than when they were Passive. It really is possible to change that customer in the middle. It takes superior service.
Closing: What Did We Learn to Improve CX?
This conference was phenomenal. It was great to get together in person, see old friends, and make new ones. We were incredibly impressed with the engagement on the part of everyone.
We look forward to our next conference. If you have any questions or comments, let me know. To learn where you need to improve your CX program, take our CX Maturity Assessment.
Remember, be on the lookout for our upcoming blogs about the conference presentations to help you improve your CX!
Founder & CEO
® Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.