You Said, We Listened

Last month, we asked our clients what they thought of us. We do this every year and take our Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) feedback seriously. We try to follow the advice we give to our own clients: give your customers the opportunity to tell you what they think. Listen to what they say. Then act on their feedback.

As we did last year, we cast the net for our 2022 CRQ assessment quite wide. We didn’t just limit the survey to a handful of key decision makers in current clients. We included many operational and administrative contacts. Their views are equally important. We also asked dormant customers what they thought of us.
 

Last year, you said…

The main message that you gave us last year – actually for the last two years – was that you needed more than just a survey provider. In practice, that meant providing more assistance AFTER your customers gave their feedback. You needed a partner that could help you deliver meaningful change across your whole organisation. You also wanted us to be more flexible and supportive.

We listened, and here are three of the things we did in response to your feedback.

1. Deliver more than just a survey

We have always strived to be more than just a survey company. Our mission is to help companies become truly customer-centric. Getting customer and employee feedback is part of that process, but there’s much more to it than launching a survey. That’s why we completely redesigned the way we work with clients, based on what you said to us.

Today we spend a lot more time with leadership teams and sales or account teams both BEFORE we think about asking our customer’s clients for their views as well as AFTER they give their feedback. The BEFORE piece is critical and must be done properly. If you don’t invest the time up-front, your CX (or EX) programme will not deliver the results that Management and the Board expect from it. More than likely, it will end in failure. It’s as simple as that.

2. Assist with Customer Relationship Quality ‘Healthchecks’

Last year we conducted CRQ ‘Healthchecks’ for clients in the UK and Ireland. The objective of a ‘Healthcheck’ is to benchmark how good a company’s Customer Experience or Customer Satisfaction programme is. That doesn’t just mean assessing if the right questions are being asked of the right people. It’s a more fundamental look at whether all the right components are in place to deliver genuine and meaningful benefits. We do this under four headings:

1. LEADERSHIP. The most important quadrant. Good Customer Excellence (CX) programmes are ALWAYS led from the top
2. STRATEGY. Good CX programmes link customer, product, operational and organisational strategy explicitly to customer needs
3. EXECUTION. Success requires properly resourced teams that are brilliant at executing the Strategy
4. CULTURE. Finally, Customer Excellence must become integral to the DNA of the organisation: “it’s how we do things around here”

All four quadrants are necessary for a successful CX programme. The ‘Hard Side’ quadrants of Strategy and Execution are all about metrics and processes. ‘Hard Side’ activities lend themselves to key performance indicators (KPIs) and while the activities in these two quadrants are important and easily measurable, the quadrants of Leadership and Culture are actually more critical.

In our experience, Leadership is the most important quadrant while Culture is the most challenging. And yet, here’s the strange thing: in most CX programmes the ‘Soft Side’ is often overlooked and almost always under-resourced.

3. Run Customer Centricity ‘Masterclasses’ for managers and leadership teams

One of the key ‘Soft Side’ challenges is making sure your entire organisation is on board with your CX (or CSat or NPS or Customer Relationship Quality) programme. Over the past 12 months, we have partnered with the world-leading HEC Business School in Paris.

That collaboration has helped us develop and deliver a ‘Masterclass’ to educate leadership teams, managers and partners about the importance and benefits of putting the customer at the heart of everything they do. The ‘Masterclass’ also helps employees understand the crucial role they play in making their companies customer-centric.

Already, these ‘Masterclasses’ have been delivered both virtually (for COVID reasons) and face-to-face to clients in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
 

How did we score this year?

Having made the investments over the past two years, we were very curious to get your reaction. In short, you were very generous in your responses this year.

This year we achieved a Net Promoter Score of +66 and a Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) score of 6.1 out of 7.

This is the highest NPS result we have ever achieved to date and the third time we have scored over +50. Our CRQ score is also the highest we have ever achieved and we are honoured to be thought of so highly by you, our valued clients.


 

Result: new client wins

I honestly believe that it’s because of the trust that our clients place in Deep-Insight that we have been able to announce some great new wins in recent months.

We have a 10+ year relationship with Atos but primarily in the UK & Ireland. Earlier this year, we extended that relationship to Germany and over the next three years we will be partnering with Atos on one of their most important and strategic global accounts.

One of our largest accounts in Australia was the logistics company Toll Group. Last year our key contact at Toll moved to Scotts Refrigerated Logistics and we recently signed a new 3-year contract to help ScottsRL become one of the most customer-centric companies in Australia.

Vreugdenhil Dairy Foods is a Dutch milk powder manufacturer that operates in Barneveld, Scharsterbrug, Gorinchem and Madrid. Its 500 staff process 1.4 billion kilograms of milk each year. Over the next three years, we will be working with the Vreugdenhil leadership team to turn a company that creates great food products into a truly customer-centric organisation.


 

Agenda for 2022

While we’re really proud of these Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) and NPS scores, there is more to do.

For starters, we got feedback from 48% of the people we asked to participate. While that’s not bad, we do see some room for improvement. Last year our response rate was 55%. We know that some of our clients achieve rates of 70% or more. We will be working hard to improve on this figure next year.

Second, the main feedback we received this year is that our new consulting services are great BUT not enough. Our clients are looking for Deep-Insight to provide even more support. The two customer quotes below confirm to me that we need to support clients on a year-round basis.

“Would like to see greater insight on how we can really make a difference for our customers. How do we truly address those recurring themes that come up each year? It would be great to get insight on how we can do this better – beyond the data”

“I would question to what degree on a continual basis Deep-Insight provides interaction and insight as a partner to the business. Also, to what extent there are follow-up meetings post results as you as experts help inform our response and strategy.”

 

Third, the feedback process is not finished yet. We need to ‘close the loop’ with all clients and discuss their specific feedback. We will be in touch shortly and will be looking specifically for more insights into any additional support needs they may have.

I need to finish off by thanking Fiona Lynch for planning, organising and running this year’s client assessment. Fiona joined us earlier this year from Atos where she was part of a global service delivery team. It’s great to have her on board.

So, well done Fiona, and thank you to all of our clients. We really do value your feedback.
 
 
John O’Connor
CEO, Deep-Insight
 
 
 

Limerick’s Net Promoter score is only +7

This is a theme I’ve explored a few times in the past: the NPS results for sports teams.

Despite an imperious performance by the Shannonsiders in last weekend’s All-Ireland Hurling Final, Limerick’s Net Promoter score is only +7.
 

The Greatest Final in Modern Times?

On Sunday, we witnessed one of the greatest hurling matches of the modern era. Hurling, you ask? A game played with sticks and a small hard ball called a sliotar. The greatest, fastest, most skillful game in the world. It truly is.

I should declare an allegiance here. Even though Deep-Insight is headquartered in Cork, I was born in Limerick. Although I didn’t live in the county for very long, I do support the Shannonsiders whenever it gets to the business end of an All-Ireland Hurling championship.

Last Sunday was All-Ireland Final day and it was a contest between the two best teams in the country: Limerick and Cork. It turned out to be a game of men against minnows as Limerick bullied and outplayed Cork into submission in an enthralling display of hurling. The final score: Limerick 3-32 to Cork’s 1-22.
 

Limerick Player Ratings

Here’s Paul Keane’s full list of Limerick player ratings from this week’s Irish Examiner:

Nickie Quaid: Not much he could do about Shane Kingston’s early bullet that flew past him to the net. Kept a clean sheet thereafter and mixed up his puck-outs well, going short when the opportunities were there. 8 (‘Passive’ score in NPS terminology)

Sean Finn: Beaten by Shane Kingston for the Cork goal. Started on Jack O’Connor though switched over to Patrick Horgan for a period. Horgan took him for two points from play but both were serious efforts from the Cork captain. 8 (Passive)

Dan Morrissey: Expected to pick up Patrick Horgan and did so for the most part, holding the prolific forward scoreless from play in that time. Locked down a mean defence that had to deal with an early Cork whirlwind. 8 (Passive)

Barry Nash: Punched the air in delight after closing out the first-half scoring with a long-range point. Still there at the death, attempting to tag on one last score for the Shannonsiders. 8 (Passive)

Diarmaid Byrnes: At his very best again. It was Byrnes’ precise pass that created Aaron Gillane’s goal and he split the posts for a trademark long-range point approaching half-time. Denied Seamus Harnedy a goal with a 64th-minute block. 8 (Passive)

Declan Hannon: Another textbook display at the centre of the Limerick defence. Used all his leadership to nail the quarterback role. Helped get Limerick going with an early point from distance and finished with 0-2. Hobbled off to a huge ovation late on. 8 (Passive)

Kyle Hayes: None of the drama of the Munster final when he scored the goal of the season but still worked tirelessly, winning frees and shooting for points long after the result was beyond doubt. 7 (Passive)

William O’Donoghue: A big part of why Limerick got on top in the middle third. Emptied his tank and strung together the play intelligently. 7 (Passive)

Darragh O’Donovan: On point and crisp at midfield, delivering accurate passes throughout and thundering through the exchanges. One of 13 different Limerick players to get on the scoresheet on the day. 8 (Passive)

Gearóid Hegarty: A huge performance from the reigning Hurler of the Year. Clipped 2-2 and struck two wides in the first half alone as he opened up with some spectacular hurling. Eventually replaced to huge cheers. 8 (Passive)

Cian Lynch: Pointed after 11 seconds and never let up, setting up both of Gearóid Hegarty’s goals. Toyed with the Cork defence at times, finishing with six points from play. His interception and flick up for Tom Morrissey’s 18th-minute point was outrageous. 9 (Promoter)

Tom Morrissey: Mixed silk with steel, showing an awesome work rate but also an ability to pick off a series of deft passes that led to important scores. Weighed in with three points from play himself on another landmark day. 8 (Passive)

Aaron Gillane: Hard to believe now he didn’t start the Munster final. Looked like a player keen to prove a point and was on fire throughout, finishing with the first-half with 1-3 and adding another three points for a 1-6 haul. 8 (Passive)

Seamus Flanagan: Helped put the game beyond Cork during Limerick’s early blitzkrieg, pointing sumptuously in the eighth minute and passing to Aaron Gillane for the second goal. Scored just a point but set up so much more. 8 (Passive)

Peter Casey: A bittersweet afternoon for the Na Piarsaigh man. Clear to play after his red card in the semi-final and on fire for 30 minutes, shooting 0-5 from play. Then crumpled with a left knee injury and had to come off. 8 (Passive)


 

Limerick’s Net Promoter score is only +7

The best ranking player was Cian Lynch who strode the field like a Colossus but who was the only player to get 9/10 from the Irish Examiner correspondent.

15 players and only one achieved a score consistent with a ‘Promoter’ ranking of 9 or 10; Everybody else was a Passive, in a match where Limerick utterly dominated their Munster rivals and played one of the most memorable matches in living memory.

Net Promoter Score = % of Promoters (7%) less % of Detractors (0%), hence a Net Promoter Score of +7.
 

Benchmarking

I have written before about how benchmarking needs to be conducted carefully when you compare scores from customers in different countries.

I have also written about how people in different countries are culturally programmed to score in particular ways. The most obvious example is that Americans are more prone to score more positively than Europeans if they receive a good service.

This is an important point to remember if you are running a Customer Experience (CX) programme across a global client base. An average Net Promoter score for Northern European B2B companies is no higher than +10. For American companies, it’s more like +20 or +30, a score that would be regarded as ‘excellent’ in a Northern European context.

So be careful when comparing NPS results across different jurisdictions. If it helps, just remember that Limerick’s Net Promoter score is only +7 in a year where they dominated the All-Ireland hurling final!
 
 

Quality is Free (so Invest in Service Excellence)

Customer centricity is all about doing the right thing for the customer. Doing the right thing also means doing things right. That means service needs to be excellent. All of the time.

Sounds expensive?

Actually, it’s not. The main message in my last blog about the Service Recovery Paradox was that quality is free so make sure to build quality in from the start so you do things right first time.

The Service Recovery Paradox

By the way, the Service Recovery Paradox is a well-known management concept. It states that a service failure followed by a good service recovery can lead to more loyal customers.

Service Recovery Paradox

The only problem is that there is no compelling evidence to show that the paradox is true. In fact, the opposite is the case.

Loyalty and Repurchase Intentions do not return to a higher level after recovering well from a service failure. There is evidence to show that Satisfaction levels can end up higher than ever before if the service recovery is managed well, but customers are less likely to repurchase.

Our own experience is that this is particularly true where there are repeated service failures. Quite often, repeated failures are symptomatic of underlying issues that have never been adequately addressed. That’s why the service fails, and fails again and again.

The implications are profound. If you want to retain clients and increase revenues and profitability, you simply cannot afford repeated service failures. The good news is that service excellence is achievable for all companies. The even better news is it doesn’t cost anything but it does mean that you need to have a good quality system in place to identify, eliminate and prevent further service failures.

Quality is Really Free?

‘Quality is Free’ and ‘Right First Time’ are references to a 1979 book by Philip Crosby. Crosby was one of the founding fathers of the Total Quality Management (TQM) movement in the 1960s and 1970s. He had previously been a senior executive and Quality Director with the US manufacturing company ITT. In the early chapters of Quality Is Free he outlines the impact of the quality programme at ITT which at the time employed 350,000 people across the globe.

Quality is Free

Crosby’s philosophy was a simple one. Rework is very expensive. It is less expensive to do it right the first time than it is to pay for rework and repairs. So focus on doing it right first time.

Much of Crosby’s work was for manufacturing companies but the principles are exactly the same for services firms. And probably more relevant. Crosby believed that manufacturing companies wasted about 20% of revenues fixing things that had been done wrong in the first place. According to Crosby, this figure could be as high as 35% in services firms.

Crosby’s Fourteen Steps

Crosby summarised his approach to quality in 14 steps. Even though they are over 40 years old, the steps are worth repeating here. They are as critical today to retaining customers as they were in 1979 when Crosby wrote ‘Quality is Free’:

# STEP COMMENTS
1 Management Commitment Get senior management buy-in from the beginning. Leaders – particularly the CEO – must be personally committed to the quality programme. Without this, nothing will happen.
2 Quality Improvement Team It’s senior management’s job to assemble a team and equip them with the right tools to make the programme work.
3 Quality Measurement What gets measured gets managed. The corollary is also true. If you don’t have a measurement system, little is achieved.
4 Cost of Quality Evaluation Calculate the cost of poor quality. That provides the business case for investing in quality. Remember that quality is free if the investment is lower that the cost of rework.
5 Quality Awareness It’s all very well for senior management to know the cost of quality. Everybody in the company must understand it as well. Make sure they do.
6 Corrective Action This is where we start identifying and fixing problems – with products, processes, service levels.
7 Zero Defects Programme Set ambitious targets for 100% quality. They may not always be achievable, but the ambition must be visible.
8 Supervisor Training The concept of supervisors may be old but investment in training for management is not. And it’s critical.
9 Zero Defects Day This is related to Point 7 and makes a statement that one day each year must be dedicated to ensuring that a Zero Defects ethos pervades the company.
10 Goal Setting Crosby recommends 30-day, 60-day and 90-day goals. The emphasis is on teamwork to achieve those goals.
11 Error Cause Removal Ask individuals to describe any problem that prevents them from performing error-free work. Fix those problems.
12 Recognition Recognise and reward excellent performance. Crosby recommends that rewards for outstanding work should NOT be financial.
13 Quality Councils The purpose of these councils is to bring professionals together on a regular basis so that can share stories and best practices.
14 Do it Over Again Most programmes last about 18 months before they need to be refreshed. Senior management must sustain the focus on quality so that it becomes part of the company’s DNA.

 

Customer Centricity = Service Excellence

At Deep-Insight, we help B2B companies become more customer-centric. By doing so, they will improve retention rates, revenues and profitability. Customer centricity is all about doing the right thing for the customer. A lot of Deep-Insight’s clients think that a core part of being customer-centric is being able to bring Innovation to the table for their customers. Service excellence is far more important.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that innovation should be ignored. It’s a hot topic in boardrooms these days. Even so, all of our experience suggests that if companies are failing to deliver the basics well, their customers have little interest in discussions about innovation.

You need to earn the right to talk about innovation. That’s why Service Excellence is critical. Consistently good service eliminates the day-to-day ‘noise’ that gets in the way of working with clients on exciting new and innovative ideas. Service excellence also helps improve customer retention rates. That’s the core message from the Service Delivery Paradox blog.

Invest in Service Excellence

Remember: service excellence first, innovation second. So do the right things, do them right and get them right first time.

Remember also that quality is free so there is no reason NOT to invest in a Service Excellence programme for your organisation. You know it makes sense.

Do contact us today if this blog sparks any ideas and you want to have a chat about improving retention rates, revenues, and profitability.