#10 Special ‘Babies’ edition


Welcome to this special ‘pink’ edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. The ‘triplets’ have arrived!
  2. Passing the project sponsorship pregnancy test
  3. Latest blog posts
  4. Notable items from other sites
  5. Looking forward

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The ‘triplets’ have arrived

I am  delighted to be able to announce that the Kindle versions of all three of our books are now available for pre-order in all Amazon stores worldwide. The print versions will follow in April. I have been working with a professional editor over the last few weeks to finalize them. I have had to remain in a zen state when being given hundreds of improvement suggestions like “That caption needs to be moved up 2 mm,” “You have used your commas inconsistently in these three paragraphs,” “This drawing needs to be more centered and the text needs to be a bit larger and slightly more to the left.” Has it been worth the effort? Readers will be the judges. The book descriptions and links to the main Amazon stores are here. And here is my brother and co-author’s view on the subject:

Passing the project management ‘pregnancy test’

The circumstances remind me of what I call the project management pregnancy test. The test is simple: if your first major deliverable is more than nine months away, don’t bother starting: you are not pregnant!

So many things can change in nine months. In a professional environment, there are sure to be changes around you. If your manager’s manager changes, will you still have the sponsorship needed to complete your work? If the company has a bad quarter, will you lose your funding? Indeed, I believe you need to be able to show progress that is worth the effort every three months, maximum. In the case of writing books, having a plan and demonstrating progress is necessary to keep the support of your family and friends. I started writing on July 1st last year, so am just scraping in under the nine month limit. I had completed the first draft of my first book after three months. Peter’s amazing drawings started to make a real difference then. The text for all three books was complete after six months. I was able to maintain my own enthusiasm, and continue to work on the books two to four hours a day, every day. And it is not over. Now I need to persuade people they are worth reading

Our latest blog posts
Older posts are of course still available on the blog page.

image How to evaluate customer survey text analysis software Customer research of all types can be divided into two categories: rating questions and open questions. You are dealing with rating questions when you are asked to provide a number on a scale as an answer to a question. Open questions let you say whatever you want. The software challenge is then how to analyze all of those responses without human bias…
image Cost reduction communication mistakes I have seen This post covers several examples of major communication mistakes I have seen. Managers generally don’t like talking about reductions, and do quite a poor job. Leaders get things done mainly by what we say and what we write. Your audience reacts emotionally, rather than rationally to cost reduction announcements. Read these examples. If they make you squirm a little, I will have been successful.
image Customer-centric Cost Reduction and ‘Hygiene Factors Today’s post is a follow-on to my introduction to the concept of customer-centric cost reduction, back in January. You may recall that it is about how you achieve necessary cost…

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Etuma: Guide to selecting the correct method and tool for feedback text analysis

A six-step guide that will help you understand whether text analytics are needed, and if so, what type of tool to use. Step 6 is the actual ‘choosing’ step, and it includes 12 selection criteria. Yes, there is a bit of a theme in what I have been writing about last week and this week. I believe that understanding what customers need requires you to ask them open questions. Analyzing the responses is difficult and time consuming. Humans can’t deal with the volumes that all but the smallest companies can generate. Last week I mentioned a great white paper by Thematic. This week continues the theme with a complementary set of views from Etuma. While no author is listed, I presume the main article is by Matti Airas, while the 12 selection criteria are by David Grimes. The article is here.

Cheatsheet.com: Five companies that people hate calling

Historic monopoly and near monopoly situations cause horrible customer experiences. Why bother spending money on making customers happy if they have no choice but to buy from you? Cable TV companies and Internet Service Providers seem to come at the bottom of most lists, including the Temkin NPS benchmarks and the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The Per.Ceptive Australian benchmarks say the same thing. There are therefore no great surprises in this new US list here.

Looking forward

Now that the Kindle versions of our three books are available to order, my brother and I are concentrating on two things. The first is spreading the word. We need your help for this, both during the two-week pre-order period and thereafter, when we will need reviews. The second is the work we have to start on the print versions. Kindles use very simple formatting, without any choice of fonts or graphics formats, for example. We need to work out the precise look we want for the print versions. At least all the writing is complete.

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You can also email me, Maurice FitzGerald, at mfg@customerstrategy.net.

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