#82 – Most-read articles, how not to do research, mandatory NPS for UK banks, cartoons


The things I like to write and you like to read, and an example of bad research from a major company. Welcome to the 82nd edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. Our most-read articles on our site and on LinkedIn
  2. What is your favorite color? (How not to do customer research)
  3. Latest blog posts
  4. Notable items from other sites – Mandatory NPS for UK banks, cartoons
  5. Looking forward

Our most-read articles on this site and on LinkedIn

I have been reflecting on the types of things I should write about. As you might expect, I would prefer to write things that you want to read. I think the best information I have about what you like to read (other than this newsletter with its ever-expanding distribution list) is the list of most-read pages on our website and the most-read articles I have posted on the main LinkedIn feed. Interestingly, to me at least, the lists are not the same.

Here are the top three from our site:

  1. The role and work of the Chief Customer Officer or customer experience leader.
  2. Measurement and improvement systems – Customer Effort Score
  3. New data: Does employee satisfaction drive customer satisfaction? Not really!

And here are the top three from LinkedIn:

  1. Journey mapping – The Main Customer Experience Measurement and Improvement Systems
  2. The Huddle and Inner Loop of the Net Promoter System® (5-minute read)
  3. Customer Experience ‘Watermelon Problems’

If you have not read some of these please have a look. And please let me know the main types of things you would like me to write about.

What is your favorite color? (How not to do customer research)  

Please bear with me for a moment. I am going somewhere with this. What follows is the general format used to gather data for a customer experience research paper published by a major global consulting firm. OK, I am going to exaggerate a little, just to make my point.

Please pick your favorite color from this list:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Light blue
  • Sky blue
  • Pale blue
  • Navy blue
  • Aquamarine
  • Purple
  • Sparkly glitter color

Here are the (fictional) research report headlines based on analyzing the answers:

In a shocking development that should change the way you think about color, global consumers prefer red, orange or yellow to any color of blue by a margin of over five to one. And for the first time ever, green has totally disappeared from global color preferences! Global fashion houses are in turmoil and those who have overstocked green items are expected to lose half their value on Wall Street.

This is why you should never base customer research on a closed list of choices that you have made up. The answers would be completely different if you simply asked people the open question, ‘What is your favorite color?’ and let them write it in a blank field.

I wish I were exaggerating, but I am not. Even reputable companies do closed-list research. Here is a new publication from PriceWaterhouseCoopers that claims to tell us what ‘really matters to American consumers’. The core questions, based on a closed list of 20 choices were Q: When it comes to great overall customer experience, how important do you think each of the following will be in the future? Which of the following things are worth paying more for?’ Choices ranged from ‘Charitability’ to ‘Efficiency’, as you will see on page six of the report. Personally, my top answer would have been ‘That a company remembers me’ but that was not among the choices. Try to think of your top choice before looking at the graph with the list on page 6.

The report gets worse in that the headlines and takeaways do not seem to match the research. On page two they have an overview that says “What truly makes for a good experience? Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Friendliness.” Speed and consistency were not even among the possible choices on the list. The person writing the report seems to have made it up based on personal bias, or just on nothing at all. Disgraceful.

If you work at PwC or believe I have this wrong, please let me know.

Our latest blog posts

The articles listed here are part of a new series on a specific aspect of strategy creation: the process of asking new questions so you can get new answers. Older posts are still available on the blog page.

image Strategy: Ask new questions to get new answers – Parts 4 and 5: CX industry and external trends

This time the situation analysis process moves on to relevant trends in your industry and in the external environment. Accurate observations about these areas can give you a competitive advantage. As always, you need to ask new questions to get new answers.

image Strategy: Ask new questions to get new answers – Part 3: Competitors

There are two main categories of competitors: traditional and emerging. The emerging category includes companies you do not know about yet, but who may be about to take over your business. Here are some questions that will help you understand how you are doing compared to your competitors.

image Strategy: Ask new questions to get new answers – Part 2: Partners

The majority of companies have partners for at least some of their business. The three main categories of partners available to most businesses are resellers, implementation partners, and subcontractors. This article concentrates on the questions that should be asked and answered to get new insights about partner strategy.

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Ian Golding: The future of VOC measurement – don’t let organisations do it themselves!

Ian is one of the top CX people on the planet and has great success with his ‘Masterclass’. The full article is worth reading and the core news is that UK banks are now required to be measured on customers’ willingness to recommend them and they have to post the results in their bank branches. This healthy development was driven by reports from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) saying that UK banks do not compete enough with each other. Apparently only 3% of UK consumers change banks each year. The new regulation requires independent measurement of customer satisfaction and they are of course using the NPS recommendation question as the main score. GfK did the first study. Read Ian’s article here. Fascinating.

Marketoonist – Cartoon Powered Marketing 

I just came across this entertaining site. I suggest you start with the customer experience article not far from the top. Tom Fishburn is the artist and he licenses his work. You can find it  here.

Looking forward

It’s December and your teams, colleagues and friends need our books! Great end-of-year gifts, in my unbiased opinion.

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. If you have already read any of our books, please write reviews on Amazon.

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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