#27 – NPS Podcasts, Customer Advisory Boards and more
Welcome to the 27th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:
Recorded two more NPS podcasts with Rob Markey
Rob Markey and I recorded two new Net Promoter System podcasts on Monday. We had planned to record three, and blocked out 90 minutes to do so. However, we got enthusiastic about the first two subjects, and over-ran. We used questions from the Net Promoter System Forum on LinkedIn as the basis for our discussions.
The first one was all about benchmarking. I hope we will bring you a bit of clarity about the use of the word itself. It is being used to designate quite a few different types of research, not all of them useful. We covered the state of the art, the relationship between benchmark trends and revenue, benchmarking alternatives for smaller companies and niche industries, and a variety of other questions. I learned quite a bit, and hope you will find it useful when it goes live a couple of weeks from now.
The second recording was about response rates to customer feedback requests. It should go live in September. I was surprised at the high response rates Rob is able to achieve with his B2C clients. We covered how to improve response rates, dealing with SPAM filters, how to talk about response rates when communicating results, and a variety of other questions.
The ‘Scarboro’ negotiation technique – worth trying
I recently had another opportunity to use what I call the ‘Scarboro’ negotiation technique. It is quite surprising, and it can work. I named it after a former colleague at Digital Equipment Corporation, Alan Scarboro. I am writing about it here, because one of my contacts asked me for advice on how to submit an effective customer experience budget proposal for his company’s next fiscal year, which starts on October 1st.
Alan and I were working in the Software Product Group at DEC in Geneva, around 1995. Most of the other teams had UNIX or VMS workstations. Alan felt the software team should have PCs, as we wanted to use particular software that was not available for the workstations. PCs were expensive, and central IT had started to allow some teams to have low-end models. Alan submitted his request for our team. Quite a fancy configuration. Refused by IT. Alan then wrote a nice note to IT, copying two levels of management, saying “Thank you for refusing this configuration. You are absolutely correct. We need bigger screens and more powerful graphic cards. Here is our new order.” Quite a nasty refusal the second time. Alan’s response to the second refusal was similar to the first, adding more to the configuration, based on a specification just received from the software vendor as appropriate for power users. The response from central IT: “Approved. We don’t want to fight with you.”
When you are asking for something, it is worth thinking about what you could reasonably ask for that would be even better. If your first request is refused, ask for more. It worked for Alan. It just worked for me last week, in an unrelated area. And it was fun too!
Notable customer experience items from other sites
Satrix Solutions on Customer Advisory Boards
I provided a link to an earlier Satrix post on CABs a few weeks ago. I consider Customer Advisory Boards to be essential for B2B companies in particular. You need to ask for and carefully consider the advice of your most important customers when you are developing and implementing your business strategy. This latest post provides guidance on CAB logistics, taking action after the meetings, and how to understand the ROI of your investment in CABs. The article is here.
Infographic – Satmetrix NPS benchmarks for US consumer businesses
Satmetrix is a co-owner of the Net Promoter System trademark. They are the reference provider of NPS training, and also provide benchmarks and other services. If you fill in a few details about yourself and your company, you can download a great infographic that provides benchmark ranges for a variety of industries, as well at the names of the best in each. You can get it here.
Looking forward, and a correction
Thanks to the alert readers who pointed out that I misstated the year of the HP and EDS merger in last week’s article about British Airways. The companies merged in 2008, not 1998, so Sir Colin was not in charge when BA outsourced to EDS. The lesson for me is that I should not write anything before my second coffee.
Things are quite quiet for me at the peak of summer in the northern hemisphere. If there is something you would like me to investigate or write about, I have time available to do the necessary research, so please let me know.
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