#15 The new triplets have all arrived. More survey madness. “NPS stole my dog and ran away with my wife.”


New books

Welcome to the 15th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. More on the triplets!
  2. The Amazon approach to customer research could stand some improvement
  3. Latest blog posts
  4. Notable items from other sites
  5. Looking forward

The paperback triplets have all arrived!

My brother and I are happy to announce that all three of our customer strategy books are now available in paperback as well as the Kindle editions launched last month. You can find links to various Amazon sites that sell them here. I don’t expect them to be available anywhere else. The third and final book covers how companies can avoid negatively affecting customers when they go through a period of major cost reduction. The content builds largely on my experience managing cost reduction initiatives when Mark Hurd was CEO of HP.

New books

Customer research should be about something useful (to me as a customer)

I received an order from Amazon this morning. At the same time, I received a survey from them via email. If you received something from a web vendor, what would you like to be asked? What might be relevant to your experience and willingness to continue to order from Amazon? In my case I suppose the top of the list would be how easy it was to find and order what I wanted. Second would probably be whether it was delivered on the day they initially promised. (It was late.) But no, just like my last few orders from Amazon, the survey was about their packaging. I really don’t care about the packaging. Referring to the blog I sent readers two weeks ago, the packaging is a hygiene factor. If it has not been opened and the contents are still there, I have no memory of the packaging ten minutes after opening it. Yes, it could upset me if poor packaging caused the contents to get damaged. However, if you were to ask me to list the top five things, or even top ten things that make me want to buy from Amazon, the packaging would not be on the list. I continue to think this is a silly approach to customer research. Stick to NPS basics if you can, with open questions.

Our latest blog posts

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

image I suppose it all started in a bathtub in 1981

A story about my first great learning experience about customer research. If you think you already know what customers want, you are probably wrong. At the time, was was working for the Wrangler jeans parent company in Paris. My job title was ‘Quality and Engineering manager”. My boss, meanwhile, was in his bathtub…

image Do your company leaders care about customers? Here is how to know

“Our customers are our top priority.” “Everything we do, we do for our customers.” “Customers come first.” Internal and external corporate communication is full of statements like these. Do they actually mean anything? Here is how to know.

image ‘Hygiene factors’ and ‘Motivators’ in customer experience – The Bain Anger-Delight Matrix

American psychologist Frederick Herzberg invented the ‘Two-factor Theory of Motivation’ in the context of his work on how to motivate employees to perform. The two factors are ‘hygiene factors’ and ‘Motivators’. Here is how they are relevant to customer experience…

Notable customer experience items from other sites

NPS killed my dog and ran away with my wife – Matt Haney on LinkedIn

Yes, I was attracted to the conversation by the provocative title. Matt works for Medallia, a leading customer experience management software company. Since Fred Reichheld (inventor of NPS) is on their board, they are obviously not against NPS. The article is a good read. The replies have a certain entertainment value, if you like reality shows. You can find the article here.

What most companies miss about customer lifetime value – Harvard Business Review

Michael Schrage’s article goes well beyond what I feel is the basic customer lifetime value problem. He talks about the additional value that is often forgotten, mentioning things like “They give us good ideas. They evangelize for us on social media. They introduce us to their customers” and more. While he makes good points, there is a more pressing issue: There is no standard way of measuring customer lifetime value. The accounting profession has let us down here. There needs to be a GAAP standard for how to measure customer lifetime value. After all, when we say that an investment will improve customer loyalty, we need to get beyond sentiment and talk about dollars. Without an accepted standard calculation of the expected value of a customer, it is an uphill battle. The article is here.

Looking forward

Since our books are now out, the most important thing we can do is to persuade you and others to read them and give us feedback. We believe they provide new ways of thinking about old problems. We hope you agree. Do let us know.

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

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