CX Insights From Marriott And JetBlue

I recently spoke at the Customer Experience Strategies Summit in Toronto. While I was there, I was able to catch a few of the other speakers. I really enjoyed hearing from the Marriott and JetBlue speakers. Both companies did very well in the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings; Marriott was the top rated hotel chain and JetBlue was the second rated airline (behind Southwest). Here are some of the interesting details that they shared:

Scott Allison, VP of Canadian Operations, Marriott:

  • Allison shared this great comment: “culture trumps brand.” Marriott links its strategy as a company with its strategy as en employer. Bill Marriott still visits a lot of hotels and when he does, he first goes to employee areas like employee entrances and break rooms. Employees are also trained on what makes their brand special.
  • Hotel general managers need to hit targets for both customer experience and employee satisfaction to get their bonuses.
  • Something goes wrong, even if it’s a small thing, during about one-quarter of stays — so hotels need to be good at recovery. That’s why the Ritz Carlton empowers associates to spend up to $1,000 per day per guest to improve someone’s stay. The staff reviews guest situations at the beginning of every day, they call it “Stand Up” at Marriott and “Line Up” at the Ritz.

Vicky Stennes, VP of Inflight Experience, JetBlue:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the key measures that the company uses. It also uses J. D. Power which breaks measurements into “people-related” and “non people-related” categories.
  • A couple of years ago, the company noticed a slip in its “people-related” scores so it started a program called “Culture is Service” (CIS). [Note: CIS was discussed in the CEO's letter to shareholders in JetBlue's 2010 Annual Report]. As part of CIS, more than 1,000 “crew members” (across the organization) went through training focused on three areas: Inform: Educate everyone on JetBlue’s current state of service, the measurements that it tracks, and share insights on how crew member behaviors affect customer experience; Engage: Elicit an open dialogue with real-time cross-functional problem solving; and Inspire: Give them a sense of the concept of unexpected moments and recognize the great work of crew members over the company’s first 10 years of operations.
  • JetBlue sees success of the CIS program because of an improvement in employee NPS scores of training attendees.
  • Moving ahead, they are looking to add a few things to the CIS training: cross-functional design sessions and education on linking NPS to specific behaviors and to revenue.
  • Stennes shared data that showed correlation between pilot in-flight communications and NPS. They use this data to show pilots that the way they communicate with passengers plays an important role in passenger loyalty.
  • The company also tracks a “Net Helpfulness Score” along with NPS for each flight. They will start using these scores to define scores for crews across their different flights.
  • Stennes also shared some great data: Every 5 promoters leads to 2 new customers and every 16 detractors leads to the loss of 1 customer. A promoter is worth $33 extra dollars ($27 from referrals and $6 from loyalty) to JetBlue while a detractor is worth $104 less than average. One point change in JetBlue’s NPS is worth $5 to $8 million.

The bottom line: Great brands spend a lot of time focusing on their people

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

6 Responses to CX Insights From Marriott And JetBlue

  1. Bruce, great post and just yesterday we wrote a post lamenting the fact that most execs don’t get that engaging with their people internally is a precursor to successful social engagement a la social business http://igo2group.com.au/blog/demistfying-qantas-and-social-media/ “Demystifying Qantas and Social Media”

    Your post confirms how the most successful companies do this.

    Thanks, Walter @adamson
    @igo2 Group

  2. Bruce, I thought that these were good points that they had from their presentations. I have always been a fan of Marriott and now will look at Jet Blue some day in the future based on this information.

  3. Patricia says:

    I am curious how he calculated the dollar value and tye formulas to correlate with the NPS metrics…any idea?

  4. Bruce, I think your conclusion is spot-on. Great brands put a lot of emphasis on employee satisfaction and developing a unique culture. I recently wrote a blog post on why companies should place more stock in their employees which explains why internal branding is such an important part of brand building. Here is a link to my post: http://blog.openviewpartners.com/internal-branding-why-you-should-place-more-stock-in-your-employees.

  5. Sarah says:

    Like Patricia, I too am curious as to how JetBlue was able to determine the dollar value of one point of NPS. Any suggested readings?

  6. Bruce Temkin says:

    Hi everyone: Thanks for your comments. Sorry it took so long for me to respond, but things have been a bit crazy. Unfortunately, I don;t have the methods used by JetBlue to make these calculations. Based on Sara’s and Patricia’s request, I will reach out to JetBlue and see if they will share that information. Walter & Brandon, thanks for sharing those links.

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