A modern fairy tale (continued) – You don’t need a customer experience strategy – you already know what to do (Part 2)

The first part of this modern fairy tale can be found here.

Continuing the story of what happens when you don’t bother with a customer experience strategy. (Because you already know what to do.)

[Reflections in the middle of the night…]

I can’t say I had a good day. Our CEO (John) wants me to tell him what customers want us to improve, and to provide a cost/benefit analysis. Can’t sleep. How can I do that? Who would know? Maybe Claire. She has been around since the company started. She seems to know everything. Does she still work for us? Where does she sit? Can I remember what she looks like? Oh, are those sheep? Let’s count them. One, two, three…

[Many snores and a drive to work later…]

OK, I found Claire and we had a coffee together. She really does seem to know everyone here. She told me our service center people send surveys to customers after people phone with problems. Paul has those reports. I thought ‘Great! My work is done here’. Jane said not. She said that Paul’s surveys ask about the call the person just had with us, but don’t ask about the company or our various products and services. Worse still, she said that if I want to find out what our customer want us to improve, I should ask them. Ridiculous! I need to go and talk to Paul.

[After meeting Paul for a drink…]

Paul was really busy, so I invited him to go for a drink after work. I told him I would buy. That was a mistake. I had one Coke while he downed seven glasses of Scotch. Still, it made him talkative, and he probably said more than he intended to. Apparently John has never visited the service center, and has shown no interest at all the the reports Paul sends him. Paul himself seems to be very motivated and doing a lot for customers. He gets his supervisors together every morning and they discuss the main results of the previous day’s customer surveys. Paul concentrates on the positive feedback, and tries to get his team off to a happy start each day.

On the negative side, Paul confirmed what Claire told me. He gets good improvement suggestions for the service center, but does not think they are much use for the company overall. He says less than a quarter of customers call the service center, and he has no idea what the others think of us. The last coherent thing he said was that I should ask the customers myself. He said I should talk to George, our marketing manager. Then he rambled on about how his Atlanta Falcons would destroy Manchester United if they ever met. I had no idea what he was talking about and made a quick exit at that point. I hope he didn’t drive home.

[After coffee with George, the marketing manager…]

George was really helpful. He told me about his annual brand research, and how our company brand compares to that of our competitors. I didn’t realize marketing work could be so interesting. I am not sure what my mother had against it. She told me “If you ever go to work in Marketing, please don’t tell me. Tell me you are working in a brothel instead. I will be happier.” Even if George exudes a sort of ‘peace and love’ vibe, he seems to know his stuff.

George told me it should be quite simple to get customer feedback directly. He has a contact list, with email addresses and phone numbers. We have about 5,000 customers, but just 30 of them give us a quarter of all our revenue. He said I should go and visit them over the next month, while phoning or emailing the others.

Sounds scary!

In the meantime, he said I should get two books onto my Kindle immediately, and read them. They are The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Reichheld and Markey, and some customer strategy book by a guy called FitzGerald. I don’t remember the name of the book.

I like George, and he seems to be single. Maybe I should ask him out.

[Part 3 is here.]