#74 – Communication issues, bad service, text analytics, IKEA, NPS and more…


A series of unusually bad interactions with companies. Welcome to the 74th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. Personal experience with health insurance and online ordering of some lights
  2. Personal experience with the LinkedIn feedback process
  3. Latest blog posts – The heart of the Net Promoter System
  4. Notable items from other sites – Thematic and Sampson Lee
  5. Looking forward
My experience with health insurance and ordering some lights

While Swiss tax rates may seem low to people in surrounding countries, it is worth noting that taxes do not fund health insurance. Our health insurance is both privatized and mandatory. When you add that cost to the low VAT and income tax rates you quickly discover that we are not all that different from (say) France. There is intense competition for both the mandatory basic contracts and the complementary insurance products that provide additional services. My family and I are insured with one of the largest providers. Four weeks ago I phoned asking why a set of medical bills sent by post had not been reimbursed. The answer: “We never received them.” They agreed to accept our scanned copies of the receipts by email.

Three weeks went by and the reimbursements had still not taken place, with no communication from the insurer. So I phoned again. “We can’t reimburse you because you have submitted the receipts twice and it is up to you to correct that.” Certain actions were agreed after a conversation that I will censor about lack of communication. Let’s see what happens. My message to you is that it is totally unacceptable not to communicate problems back to a customer. Yes, if they had genuinely not received the receipts by post, they could not have known there was a problem. But still. (For the Swiss readers, the insurer’s name begins with the letter H.)

The above happened while I was not in a great mood about an order for two ceiling lights from the website of the second-largest supermarket chain in the country. They promised delivery in “two to three weeks” in the second half of July. After just over three weeks with no delivery and no answer to an email I sent them, I phoned. “One of the lights is out of stock, so we did not deliver the other either.” They promised to deliver the in-stock light right away. Two weeks went by with no delivery and no answer to two emails asking about delivery. A new phone call. A new promise that has not been kept, as of two days ago. This sort of behavior is totally unacceptable. I speculate that it is driven by an internal rule that everything in an order must be delivered in a single shipment, since the delivery costs they invoice are fixed. (For the Swiss, the supermarket chain name begins with a C.)

Grumble grumble.

Personal experience with LinkedIn feedback process

As many of you know, I manage the Customer Experience Management LinkedIn group that has over 100,000 members. Large groups are quite challenging to manage. It is quite difficult to avoid ‘spammers’ joining the group. There are lots of posts every day, and I like to pin whatever I currently find most interesting to the top of the list. There are people who post too much, sometimes twenty or thirty posts per week that include ads for their own services. I move such people to a moderation queue and only allow interesting things through. If a post is irrelevant to the group I delete it and send the member a message explaining why.

A few days ago LinkedIn changed the group management features. It has become much harder to check whether people requesting membership actually have LinkedIn profiles. I can no longer approve multiple membership requests at once. The ability to pin things to the top of the list is gone, as is the ability to move a member to the moderation queue. The ability to send a message to someone whose post I am about to delete is gone. More importantly for members, the ‘Jobs’ tab has disappeared so nobody can look at relevant CX job openings.

Naturally I have used their Help Forum and product feedback processes to try to resolve these issues. In both cases they explicitly say that they will not reply to you, which I find most surprising. Both processes pointed me at their ‘New Features Blog’ for more information and that blog says nothing about the group management changes at all.

Your suggestions are welcome, including from the two people from LinkedIn on my subscriber list. The message I take away from the experience so far is that LinkedIn does not care about groups or group managers. And surprisingly, they no longer want people to look in groups for job postings.


Our latest blog posts

The latest posts are a series of three posts about the heart of the Net Promoter System: the Inner Loop, the Outer Loop and the Huddle. Feedback welcome. Older posts are still available on the blog page.

image The Outer Loop of the Net Promoter System® (5-minute read)

The Outer Loop is where generic, systematic improvement opportunities get addressed. There are two types of Outer Loop activities: mono-departmental and multi-department work…

image The Inner Loop of the Net Promoter System® (5-minute read)

Your research process produces feedback that individual employees and teams need to understand and react to. Let’s consider the simplest and most common use of the Inner Loop: ‘episode’ research.…

image The heart of the Net Promoter System (1-minute read)

While it is unfortunately the only part of the system that many companies use, the NPS numbers don’t matter all that much. What matters is what you do with what you learn…


Notable customer experience items from other sites

Thematic blog: Text analytics insights, and a webinar with me

Regular readers will know I am a fan of the text analytics software invented by Thematic. Alyona is also doing a great job making Natural Language Processing understandable to mere mortals like me. Her fifth in a series of five articles on the subject should be appearing in her blog around now. You will also find a recording of a webinar she held with me on the list. You can find the Thematic blog here.

Sampson Lee: IKEA – Effortless experience is a wrong strategy 

Sampson’s articles are rare and deep. Always worth reading. This one happens to be over 18 months old and he recently re-posted it to the LinkedIn CEM group. He discusses the origins of the Customer Effort Score and how it has been misapplied to other situations. He correctly believes that there are customer experiences that must not be effortless. A bit of friction is good. Read all about it here.


Looking forward

Thinking about starting an Instagram page to post and comment on Peter’s artwork. August book sales were more than double sales we were already happy with last year, so thank you all. Please continue to spread the word.

Here are links to all of our books on Amazon.com. Kindle versions are available in all stores. Print versions are available from the major stores only, with the notable exception of Australia, where print versions are not available from amazon.com.au.

Customer Experience Strategy – Design & Implementation

Net Promoter – Implement the System

Customer-centric Cost Reduction

“So Happy Here”: The Absurdist but Essential Guide to Better Business (Color edition)

“So Happy Here”: The Absurdist but Essential Guide to Better Business (Black & White edition)

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