#4 Reactions to employee/customer sat posts, relationship between CX and revenue

Welcome to my fourth newsletter covering customer experience and customer-centric business strategy. The four topics this week are:

  1. Reactions to latest posts, other thoughts
  2. Highlights from my own blog
  3. Notable customer experience items from other sites
  4. Looking forward

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More reactions to posts about employee and customer satisfaction

I have to admit I was a bit nervous when I put links to this Tuesday’s blog post on LinkedIn. After all, LinkedIn is at the top of one of the ‘bad lists’. They have outstanding employee satisfaction as measured by Glassdoor ratings. At the same time, they have horrible American Customer Satisfaction Index ratings, down in the bottom 10%. Twitter is in a similar position. What is it about the four social media companies on that list? Maybe the lack of direct customer contact is an issue? This is the table I am referring to:

Employee satisfaction
The most frequent comments I have received on these posts have been requests to clarify what I mean when I say that employee satisfaction and employee engagement are different concepts. An employee who is happy with his or her pay, the free food in the company restaurant, and their short commute distance is not necessarily doing anything at all to make customers happy. An engaged employee is working with others in their team, and indeed with other teams, towards clear company goals. If a company plans to take share from competitors, providing a superior customer experience should be on that list of goals.

Thoughts about a customer culture

If you search on “customer culture”, you quickly find quite long lists of things you should do to achieve one. Micah Solomon wrote about his 7 Secrets of Building a Customer-centric Company Culture for Forbes, for example. His is one of the shorter lists, and it does not even cover implementation. Linden and Chris Brown gave their seven ways to Diagnose your Customer Culture in the Harvard Business Review. OK, you have done your diagnosis. Now what? Personally, I don’t like lists that are too long to remember. What would you think of just two points?

  • Clear company strategy and initiatives that are externally focused, concentrating on customers, resellers and competitors. The CEO and leadership team all communicate the same strategy internally and externally. It is visible on their intranet and extranet pages, and consistently communicated in messages to employees. Individual business, function and country strategies and initiatives all fit into the corporate strategy.
  • The leaders’ actions match their words. This becomes visible in the structure of the teams that report directly to the leaders, and in the way they deploy their people and other resources. It is clear that there is a formal customer listening and improvement process that makes things better for customers. Customers and resellers are told what the company has learned from them, and what will actually get done.

I invite you to inspect your own company and to assess it on these two points. Customers don’t currently have to like you for the culture to exist. Getting from negative or neutral customer perceptions and market share trends to something more positive takes time. It will accelerate things if your company culture is more customer-centric than that of your competitors.

Our latest blog posts

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

image Survey design considerations

There really are too many surveys in the world. Here are some things to consider if you want to set up a new customer research process or improve an existing one. Includes examples of poor practices as well as current thinking on the relationship between the number of questions and both completion and drop-out rates.

image Best and worst combinations of customer and employee satisfaction

Follow-on to the employee-customer satisfaction blog post. Features four tables that show the combinations of best and worst customer and employee satifaction for large companies that sell to US consumers. Big surprises in the list of companies with great employee satisfaction and horrible customer satisfaction.

image Does employee satisfaction drive customer satisfaction? In general… no!

Covers my original meta-study to show that employee satisfaction does not matter much for customer satisfaction for the majority of 340 large businesses selling to US consumers. High-touch businesses are an exception. I believe this is the first study to combine American Customer Satisfaction Index numbers with Glassdoor employee ratings to reach new insights.

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Jeanne Bliss: “Yes, good CX is tied to revenue gains”

Nice post from Jeanne Bliss about the relationship between customer experience and revenue. She relies on Forrester research results for her conclusions. Jeanne is the author of Chief Customer Officer 2.0. She has occupied that position at Microsoft and Lands’ End, among others. You can find her blog post here.

Bruce Temkin provides 20 industry charts on how CX relates to buying

In the same general vein as Jeanne’s blog post, Bruce Temkin provided 20 interesting charts that show how customer experience improvements relate to revenue for 20 different industries. He posted it on LinkedIn here.

Tips on using text analytics

As many readers know, I consider automated text analytics to be the most important frontier of customer experience research. We need to be able to ask customers open questions and limit human bias when analyzing the answers. Nobody has a perfect solution yet. Matti Airas of Etuma has just published a useful eBook that provides 23 Tips on Using Text Analysis to Increase Customer Loyalty. I enjoyed the tips and find them insightful.

Looking forward

Next week will see the first in a series of posts about behavioral economics and its implications for strategy and customer experience. I am a great fan of Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely in particular. I consider their books to be essential reading. We humans do not behave nearly as rationally as we would like to believe. Behavioral economics explains why.

Our book writing and illustrating is going well. I am still optimistic about being ready to release them around the end of the month. I have not done something like this before, and suppose all sorts of last-minute panic items will arise. I am already learning how difficult it is to have a single format for graphics that works for both Kindle and print versions.

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

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