Maurice FitzGerald – Customer Strategy Newsletter #61 – New idea on relationship survey reporting


Welcome to the 61st edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. New idea: Reporting results of relationship surveys by function / business
  2. You have got to wonder what Elon Musk is trying to say
  3. Latest blog posts
  4. Notable items from other sites – Help Desk humor, CX reading list
  5. Looking forward
New idea about how to report relationship survey results

I had another call with the head of CX for a large global B2B company based in LA. He was looking for input about the way he planned to report their latest relationship survey results. The people surveyed were a good representation of the views of their largest customers. So… what is the problem with that?

My own opposition to reporting relationship research scores by individual customer is well known. I blogged about the subject back in April, and won’t repeat those messages here. However, during our discussion, I thought of something new. Why not report relationship research by position? By this I mean provide scores across all customers for respondents from the Finance function, from IT, from Procurement, from Facilities, and indeed from whatever businesses and functions you may find relevant?

That would have at least one big advantage, and perhaps one disadvantage that I can think of so far. Let’s start with the advantages. If you compete in a commodity business, the views of people in the procurement / purchasing department are important. If you can see the procurement trends and customer comments across all customers it should be easy to understand what is going on and how you can improve. If the end users of your product or service are trending negative, you will be able to understand this and act more quickly than if this were buried among the other data. The main disadvantage I see is a communication challenge. Not all respondent businesses and functions are equally important to you. It may be hard to communicate which are the decision-makers, the influencers, and the end users.

Anyway, that is the relatively simple idea. I am disappointed I did not think of it years ago when working at HP. Let me know what you think.

You have got to wonder about what Elon Musk is trying to say

When you run a company that loses lots of money over many years, your personal reputation is critical. Jeff Bezos understood this and managed to get shareholder support for his long-term strategy. Elon Musk has invested lots of his own money in Tesla and SpaceX, among other ventures. All I can say is that Musk seems to have lost the plot, as far as credibility is concerned. His tweets about nano technology and about the media may have started off as attempts to be humorous. By ‘doubling down’ and repeating his comments with stronger words I feel he came across as mentally unstable. Maybe he felt a lot of pressure coming up to the shareholder meeting on Tuesday this week.

On nano-technology, here is what he tweeted as a reply to one of the world’s foremost nanotech experts (Upulie Divisekera): ‘Ahem, you have “nano” in your bio. That is 100% synonymous with bs.’ He backed off this comment just a little, but not much. For a person who manages companies that make extensive use of nano technologies, this is surprising.

As far as the media are concerned, well, his comments are strange for someone who does little or no advertising and is dependent on the media for his success. Tesla has been having some difficulties with car manufacturing lately, along with potential auto pilot problems. Following some comments he made about “…increasingly immaterial reports [about Tesla] dominating news cycles” he became more extreme, saying “The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them.” Things got worse after that. What can he be thinking? What can he be trying to say? At least the car company is allegedly in danger of running out of cash this year, and he needs all the media support he can get so that customers stay on his side. My message: Your reputation is everything. Don’t blow it.


Our latest blog posts

Here are the latest posts. Older posts are still available on the blog page.

image How I got my two biggest promotions: True Stories

I was speaking to a business school student recently. She asked me about how I managed to get promoted during my career. That got me thinking… Luck and hard work…

image A legendary Mark Hurd speech to HP employees in Israel

Mark Hurd is CEO of Oracle and was CEO of HP before that. While at HP, he made many speeches about cost. His general philosophy was best illustrated by my favorite event; his speech to all employees in Israel. It was broadcast to the entire company, coming shortly after the company acquired EDS…

image The start of a long story: How I learned about ‘customer-centric cost reduction’.

Such a contrast I was looking out my office window near Charles de Gaulle airport in 1982. The phone rang just as I was watching Concorde take off on its daily run to New York…

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Help Desk humor

I have not posted anything funny in a while. Or at least, nothing that I intended to be funny. So let’s plug that gap with a Blogspot page on the subject of Help Desks. Those who are extremely sensitive and concerned about political correctness may want to skip this. Get it here.

Ricardo Saltz Gulko: 30 Best Customer Experience books for 2017 and 2018

Brazil-based CX influencer Ricardo Saltz Gulko manages a CX group on Facebook and posted the list of books he read and is looking forward to here. Yes, one of our books is on the list. Personally, I keep Facebook for private things and follow Ricardo’s group passively. If you want to have a look, you should be able to find the Facebook group here.


Looking forward

We have updated the privacy statement on our website to be fully in line with the new GDPR regulations. Yes, we use cookies and Google Analytics, but receive no personal data whatsoever about visitors to our site.

Here are links to all of our books on 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

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)

Please share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up for it here. I have put links to past newsletters on the subscription page. Finally, please feel free to change or cancel your subscription using the link below.

You can also email me, Maurice FitzGerald, at

To change your subscription, click here.