A Modern Fairy Tale (Part 3) – You don’t need a customer experience strategy. You already know what to do

You can find parts 1 and 2 here and here.

[Several days later…]

OK, I finally got up my courage and asked George out yesterday evening. It was a bit odd and I am not sure I like him all that much, after all. He said we could make beautiful music together, but I am not so sure. Maybe it is the beard. I don’t really like beards.

On the professional front, George’s list was really useful. I have already gone to see eight of our largest customers so far. It was really interesting to learn what makes them keep coming back, time after time. They seem really happy with our service, and always want more. Insatiable would be the word, I think.

I tried a couple of different ways of talking to them. First, based on my reading, I asked them whether they would recommend our services to a friend, why, and what we should improve. I have to say that none spontaneously mentioned a desire to talk to other customers in an online forum, which was disappointing. Still, I have only spoken to eight customers, so that could change. One of the customers happened to be a professional magician. I used that to ask her a different question. I just said “If I gave you a magic wand that gives you total control over our company, what three wishes would you make?” Her answers were indeed useful.

[After signing up with SurveyMonkey…]

I could have signed up with a variety of online survey providers but chose SurveyMonkey because George suggested it. Except for the top 30 customers, I am sending my feedback request by email. I will follow up by phone if I don’t hear back from the top 100. George told me it was important to be personal, and to promise to tell the customers that we will act on their feed back. So here are the main things I did in the email, which I sent out from my own Outlook account:

  • I used Excel and Word to set up a mail merge so that every email used the customer’s name and mentioned how much business they have done with us.
  • I told them who I was and that I am making a presentation to the CEO on what to improve less than two weeks from now. I said that I need their help.
  • I promised to tell them the result of the presentation, whether they answer the feedback request or not. I mentioned that of course their improvement suggestions will not appear unless they take the survey.
  • I promised them that there are only three questions in the survey, and included a screen shot of the survey form in the email. It should be clear to them that it will take just a couple of minutes.

Now I am going to hit send. [‘Click’]

[48 hours later…]

Wow! 1,000 responses already. That’s 20% of all our customers. I have not had time to read all their suggestions yet, though I searched the response file for the word ‘forum’, and it did not come up, which is surprising. A forum would be such a good idea.

I have now seen 15 of the top 30 customers. I can’t get appointments with some customers, even for a Skype conference. I will keep trying. The largest customers seem less happy with us than the others. I suppose they spend a lot more money, so it is to be expected that they should be more demanding. I wonder whether I should propose a special VIP service of some sort for them.

[A few days pass…]

The number of survey responses dropped off quickly, though I now have 1400. I suppose I should send a reminder. I have been reading the answers to the open questions and the distribution across our three offers is interesting, at least at first sight.

  1. Our new customers all get logon credential and have to go through that wonderful compatibility analysis that Peter created. He call’s it Pete’s Best Partner Profile, but I think that’s too close to his name. It should be Pete’s Perfect Partner Profile Program (PPPPP). Sometimes I think he wrote it for himself. Pete is a cognitive psychologist and the tool is designed to create mutually compatible profiles of people before they meet. Of course, sometimes opposites attract. There has not been a lot of feedback on the profiling. Should I take that to mean that it works OK. I think it is what FitzGerald called a ‘Hygiene Factor’ in his books, meaning people only notice it if it does not work.
  2. The Video Speed Dating process seems to work well. Both men and women like the ability to talk to a variety of people before deciding whether or not to go to the parties. Of course, some then just decide to meet each other so we lose the party revenue. Not sure we can do much about that.
  3. Our Perfect Partner Parties are really popular with those who attend them. I was surprised to see so few comments about the high entry price. I suppose it is a way of screening people. Still, there are a lot of detailed improvement suggestions about the parties. Some come from people who have not attended them, which is a bit odd.

[All research now complete…]

I have now spoken to the top 30 customers. These are of course the people who have attended the most parties, spending the most money. I have to say that none seem to be on a true search for their life partners. They just seem to like to party with people like them. There were 21 men and nine women in the group of 30. They had once consistent suggestion about the parties. I do not look forward to presenting it to the CEO a few days from now. It may be too controversial.

There were just under 2,000 responses from the rest of our customer base of about 5,000 members. I asked three colleagues to look at their answers to the open questions. Oops, we each came up with different lists of the top five items. I went back to Danielle and Michelle and asked them how to analyze it all using software. They gave links to several tools. By coincidence, all were mentioned by FitzGerald in his Net Promoter implementation book. (What a coincidence!) Most were useful in some way. I got the best results when I sent the file to Thematic software and they did a quick demo analysis for free. Nice!

[One more sleepless night…]

Tomorrow is the big day. Four weeks have gone by since our CEO asked me to do the work. I hope I can get the full leadership team to agree to what I will propose. I don’t think they will like one of the top improvement suggestions, though it can bring us more money. I briefed John, Paul and George earlier today, and think I have their support, though they were surprised. I still think I like George. I have gotten used to his beard. It is a pity Pete won’t be there.

I am somewhat afraid. Maybe I won’t survive the day. Maybe I will get fired. Hopefully not.

Are those sheep? Let’s count them…

Until tomorrow,


Part 4 (the final part) is here