Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2014

1401_LessonsCX Excellence_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2014. The report provides insights from 11 finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2013 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which is 144 pages long, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. Here’s the executive summary:

The following 11 organizations are finalists in Temkin Group’s 2013 Customer Experience Excellence Awards: Adobe, AIG Asia Pacific, Cisco, Cox Communications, EMC, Findel Education Resources, Fiserv, Intuit ProTax Group, Oracle, Rackspace, and UMB Bank. This report highlights their customer experience efforts and describes their best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. Additionally, this report includes an appendix with the finalists’ detailed nomination forms to help you gather ideas and examples to improve your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the finalists:

  • When Adobe began its transition from a products-based company to a services company, it recognized the increased importance of providing excellent customer experience and established a central Customer Advocacy team in January 2013. One of this team’s main objectives is to make measurable improvements to top customer issues. Adobe identifies these top issues using numerous VoC listening channels and then, with full transparency, communicates these issues across the entire company. Every leader and employee can access root cause analysis, direct customer comments and feedback, action plans, and more.
  • AIG Asia Pacific uses its FEEL GOOD message to engage customers, employees, and leaders in the company’s service culture transformation efforts. AIG uses a comprehensive Voice of the Customer program—which includes a closed-loop NPS process—to keep the company focused on its customers and agents and implement meaningful changes based on their feedback. In each country, cross-functional teams concentrate on improving responsiveness to customer feedback. Teams create plans for their alert management processes and use a real-time online dashboard to quickly resolve customer issues.
  • Cisco has made Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) a corporate priority; it drives relevant and meaningful solutions that simplify complex issues for its customers. To support its EoDB focus, Cisco analyzes customer feedback and identifies trends in experience pain points, and then delivers tailored reports and suggestions to the appropriate business teams. Cisco reinforces the importance of EoDB by equipping leaders with regular program updates, factoring the success of EoDB targets into the bonus calculations of every employee, and prominently displaying an EoDB dashboard that provides real-time data feed from customer surveys.
  • In an industry notorious for poor customer service, Cox Communications stands out for its dedication to improving its customer experience. Its closed-loop feedback program has been particularly successful at repairing damaged relationships and reducing customer churn. Cox Communications established a centralized Closed-Loop Feedback (CLF) team, which is made up of agents from different functional areas who are tasked with taking ownership of customers’ issues from beginning to end.
  • The dedicated Total Customer Experience (TCE) team at EMC recently enhanced its TCE program by fine-tuning their data-driven approach to improving the company’s customer and partner experience. EMC obtains a complete view of its customers’ perceptions and behaviors by collecting data using customer journey maps and an extensive Voice of Experience (VoX) program. To augment these insights, EMC also evaluates the quality of its products and the TCE team assesses customer and partner infrastructures to ensure that EMC products suit their clients’ needs.
  • Findel Education Resources recently revamped its entire outlook on customer experience and placed the customer at the center of its business. The company started its journey towards customer-centricity by outlining the objectives it sought to achieve and the questions it wanted to ask to ensure that leaders and employees remained customer-focused. Findel instituted Employee Voice and Customer Voice programs to diagnose customer issues and benchmark the company’s progress.
  • Two years ago Fiserv established a new Customer Experience Department tasked with improving customer service and associate engagement. This department began by changing the company’s vision and mission to incorporate its new focus on customers, creating a multi-faceted customer experience roadmap, and outlining a hierarchy of needs. Since the department’s inception, CX has become the highest weighted metric on the balanced scorecards for leaders and employees, and the company has invested a great deal in internal assessment and coaching.
  • Intuit’s ProTax Group (PTG) uses customer feedback to drive changes in the business. Intuit PTG gathers customer feedback through a robust customer listening program, an extensive closed-loop program, and engaged social media communities. After collecting customer insights, the Customer Experience and Customer Market Insights team within Intuit PTG sends weekly, quarterly, and annual reports to the entire company, which broadens awareness of customer issues.
  • At Oracle, customer experience initiatives begin with a 360-degree view of customers. Oracle maintains a Customer Experience Database (CxD), which details the interactions and experiences of every customer based on their behavior on oracle.com and their interactions on social media. Oracle also utilizes its business intelligence product to add survey results to this customer profile, further expanding the company’s attitudinal and behavioral data on each customer.
  • At Rackspace, Fanatical Support forms the backbone of their customer experience efforts. Rackspace combines its customer data into a single listening and analysis hub, and undesirable scores and trends act as a catalyst for the company’s business decisions. For example, after examining this data, the company decided to merge the sales and support teams together to provide a constant customer experience.
  • UMB Bank recently established a Voice of the Customer Steering Team to support their customer-centric focus. This Steering Team uses VoC feedback to assign priority to CX issues and oversees improvements to the customer experience. The team is made up of leaders from all different business areas, such as product and sales, which ensures that all departments are fully engaged in the company’s efforts to improve customer experience.

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If you enjoyed this report, check out last year’s report, Lessons in CX Excellence.

The bottom line: There’s a lot to learn from these CX Excellence Finalists.

Report: Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2013

1311_NPSBenchmarkStudy_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2013. This study of 10,000 U.S. consumers benchmarks Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) for 269 companies across 19 industries. Click to download list of companies (.pdf).

Here’s the executive summary: We measured the Net Promoter Score for 269 companies across 19 industries. USAA took the top three spots with NPS of 60 or more for its credit card, banking, and insurance businesses. At the other end of the list, HSBC earned the two lowest scores, with NPS below -20 for its banking and credit card units. Auto dealers (38) and groceries (30) have the highest average NPS, while TV service providers, Internet service providers, and health plans are below 10. In 18 of the 19 industries, consumers who are under 25 represent the lowest (or tied for lowest) NPS scores. Compared with detractors, promoters are more likely to want lower prices and less likely to want customer service improvements. To help you implement a successful NPS program, we’ve included eight tips, such as don’t believe in an “ultimate question” and use control charts, not pinpointed goals. The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

This is our second annual NPS benchmark. Check out last year’s results.

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Here are the overall results for the 19 industries:

2013NPSResults_TemkinGroup

Here are some other highlights:

  • USAA earned the highest NPS scores on the list for three of its business—66 for insurance and credit cards and 65 for banking. Other companies with NPS above 50 are Amazon.com, H.E.B., Chick-fil-A, Apple, Audi, credit unions, and Nordstrom.
  • HSBC earned the lowest two NPS scores across all companies with a -42 for banking and -24 for credit cards. Other companies with NPS of -10 or below are Time Warner Cable, Citibank, Super 8, Charter Communications, and Motel 6.
  • Auto dealers earned the highest average NPS (38) followed by grocery chains (30), hotel chains (29), and software firms (29).
  • TV service providers (2), Internet service providers (5), and health plans (9) are the only industries with averages below 10.
  • USAA’s three businesses earned NPS levels that are 40 or more points above their industry averages. Three other firms are 30 or more points above their peers: A credit union (banking), Amazon.com (retail), and H.E.B. (groceries).
  • HSBC’s NPS is 55 points below the industry average for banks and Super 8 is 42 points below the hotel industry. Four other firms are 30 or more points below their industry averages: Motel 6 (hotels), HSBC (credit cards), US Airways (airlines), and 7-Eleven (retail).

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The bottom line: Find out why customers do and don’t recommend you.

*Net Promoter Score, Net Promoter, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, and Fred Reichheld.

Report: State of VoC Programs, 2013

1310_StateOfVoC2013_CoverWe just published a Temkin Group report, State of Voice of the Customer (VoC) Programs, 2013. The research shows how large organizations are using VoC programs. Here’s the executive summary:

For the third year, Temkin Group benchmarked the voice of customer (VoC) programs within large organizations. These efforts continue to deliver successful results as companies have increased staffing and plan to spend more in areas such as customer insight and action platforms and text mining. We also found that executives are taking a more active role in VoC programs. When it comes to sources of insight, the use of mobile feedback has more than doubled since last year. Looking ahead, companies plan to focus less on multiple-choice surveys and more on interaction history and predictive analytics. Respondents also completed Temkin Group’s VoC Competency and Maturity Assessment, which examines capabilities across what we call the 6 Ds: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. While only twenty percent of companies have reached the two highest levels of VoC maturity, this level represents a significant increase from last year. When we compared high scoring VoC programs with others, we found that they spend more on analytics, use more data sources, and employ more full time employees.

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Once again, we found that an overwhelming number of companies report that VoC programs deliver positive business results, fueling an increase in focus on VoC. The most spending momentum is in software for managing VoC programs—which Temkin Group calls Customer Insight & Action Platforms—and text analytics. In both of these areas, more than 40% of firms plan to increase spending, while less that 6% are planning a decrease.

Companies are also expanding the staff on their VoC teams. Thirty-six percent of companies have more than five full-time employees dedicated to their VoC efforts, up from 31% last year. Sixty percent have three or more employees, an increase from 52% in 2012. The number of companies soliciting feedback via mobile phones has more than doubled from nine percent last year to 20% this year and is poised to continue rising. When asked to estimate the importance of different sources of customer insights three years down the road, more than 70% of respondents said that social media, customer interaction history, and predictive analytics will become more important. Multiple-choice surveys, the historical mainstay of VoC programs, received the least positive outlook.

We split the companies into two groups based on their overall scores in our VoC Competency and Maturity Assessment (see below) and compared the top half of the companies (with more mature VoC programs) to the bottom half of the companies (with less mature VoC programs). Ninety-two percent of companies with more mature VoC programs report that their VoC efforts are successful; as opposed to only 58% of less mature programs. These better VoC efforts also spend more on analytics, use more data sources, have more full-time staff, and enjoy more executive support.

The report has tools and data for benchmarking your VoC program. Here’s how companies performed in our VoC Competency and Maturity Assessment that assesses the 6 D’s of VoC programs:

1310_VoCMaturity

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The bottom line: Companies should increase their VoC maturity levels.

B2B Versus B2C in VoC

In the research for the Temkin Group report Prepare for Next Generation Voice of the Customer Programs, more than 200 large organizations completed our VoC program competency and maturity assessment. This tool uses 30 questions to gauge the effectiveness of these efforts across the 6 Ds of a VoC programDetect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. The tool also identifies the level of maturity of these programs.

I took a closer look at the results from the 75 B2B companies and 62 B2C companies that completed our VoC assessment.

B2BvB2C VoC MaturityThe data shows that:

  • B2B firms have more mature VoC programs. Over half of the B2B programs with formal VoC programs are at least Analyzers, the third stage of VoC maturity. B2C firms are slightly less at 47%.
  • All competencies need work. Across all six Ds, only a small portion of B2C and B2B firms—ranging from 10% to to 26%—are rated as good or very good.
  • B2C is best at Discuss. B2C firms perform the best at communicating feedback in a cross-functional setting. This is also the place where they most outperform B2B firms.
  • B2B is best at Discuss and DisseminateB2B firms get the highest score, 21%, for these two phases.
  • Design is weak for both B2B and B2C. Very few B2B or B2C companies are good at using user-centered approaches for making improvements based on voC insights.

The bottom line: B2B and B2C Need to Improve VoC

Report: What Happens After A Good or Bad Experience?

1212_Feedback_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, What Happens After A Good or Bad Experience? This large-scale consumer study uncovers negatively biased feedback and significant upside from good service recovery. Here’s the executive summary:

We asked 5,000 U.S. consumers about their experiences with 179 companies across 19 industries. More than 60% who had a bad experience with a fast food chain, credit card issuer, rental car agency, or hotel cut back on their spending, and many stopped completely. But service recovery helps. For every level of improvement in how they responded to a bad experience, companies were rewarded with more sales. Unfortunately, firms aren’t very good at service recovery, especially banks and credit card issuers. TV service providers delivered the greatest number of bad experiences while grocery chains had the fewest. At a company level, ING Direct and Holiday Inn had the lowest number of bad experiences, while QVC and Best Buy had the highest. We also examined how consumers share their good and bad experiences, across age groups and income levels, and compared results from last year. This analysis uncovered a negative bias in how consumers give feedback. Motel 6, ING Direct, Albertsons, and RadioShack have the most negative bias in the feedback they get directly from customers; Cox Communications and Symantec have the most negative bias in feedback on Facebook; and Verizon and GE face the most negative bias on Twitter.

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The report has 20 graphics full of data on consumer behavior and company ratings. It starts by looking at the prevalence of bad experiences. It turns out that 20% of consumers have had a bad experience with a TV service provider while only 5% have had a bad experience with a grocery store.

TV Service Providers Deliver The Most Bad Experiences One of the streams of analysis looks at how consumers give feedback. As you can see, companies are more likely to hear about bad experiences than good experiences.

How consumers give feedbackHere are some of the other findings in the research:

  • ING Direct (2%), Holiday Inn Express (2%) Whole Foods (3%) and Holiday Inn (3%) had the fewest occurrences of bad experience, while Best Buy (29%), QVC (29%), Gap (28%), and eBay (26%) had the most.
  • After a bad experience consumers were most likely to completely stop spending with rental car agencies (40%), credit card issuers (39%), computer makers (35%), and auto dealers (35%), but least likely to stop spending with retailers (9%) and Internet service providers (10%).
  • When companies responded very poorly after a bad experience, 47% of consumers stopped spending completely with the company. When they had a very good response, only 6% stopped spending and 37% increased their spending.
  • Retailers (46%) most often recovered well from a bad experience while Internet service providers (15%) and health plans (15%) were the worst at recovering.
  • 38% of consumers gave feedback directly to the company after a very bad experience, but only 31% gave feedback after a very good experience.
  • 14% of consumers gave feedback on a rating site like Yelp after both a very good or a very bad experience.
  • The use of twitter to communicate about a very bad experience has grown from 4% to 9% of consumers over the last year.
  • 33% of 18- to 24-year-olds have posted about a good experience on Facebook, compared with only 5% of those who are 65 and older.
  • 18% of 18- to 24-year-olds have tweeted about a good experience, compared with only about 1% of those who are 55 and older.
  • 17% of consumers who earn $100K or more have tweeted about a bad experience, compared with only 7% of those who earn less than $50K.
  • Given their customer demographics, Motel 6, ING Direct, Albertsons, and RadioShack are the most likely to receive direct customer feedback that is negatively biased while Cablevision, Avis, Nissan dealers, and Dodge dealers are the most likely to receive positively biased feedback.
  • Given their customer demographics, Cox Communications, Symantec, ING Direct, and TracFone are the most likely to have negatively biased comments on Facebook, while Cablevision, AOL, Kaiser Permanente, and Holiday Inn are the most likely to have positively biased comments.
  • Given their customer demographics, Verizon and GE are the most likely to have negatively biased comments on Twitter, while Avis and Edward Jones are most likely to have positively biased tweets.

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The bottom line: Customer feedback is an under utilized asset.

SimplexGrinnell’s NICE Workshops Engage Employees in VoC

I often speak with Karl Sharicz, Manager of Customer Experience at SimplexGrinnell (a Tyco Company), because he’s a very active board member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. During one of our recent conversations he gave me an update on the company’s NICE workshops, interactive sessions where local offices review customer verbatims and develop action plans. It’s a great practice that other companies may want to “borrow” so I pulled together this post.

Here’s an overview of the Next Improvement in Customer Experience (NICE) Workshop program:

  • It’s a highly focused 5-hour interactive on-site session for key district personnel (managers, admin, and front-line) to develop an action plan for improving their customer experience with district service delivery.
  • In small teams, workshop attendees are exposed to their district CSAT metrics and customer verbatim comments drawn from 80 to 100 of their customers that were surveyed over the past 12 months.
  • Using that customer feedback, they identify and agree upon their most prevalent service delivery challenges. They brainstorm new and best service practices to implement within the next 30 days that will begin to make an impact on customer satisfaction (and NPS scores) within the next 90 days.
  • Implementation details:
    • A high-potential district employee is selected as a Customer Champion and is trained to become a workshop facilitator. All facilitators must have attended a NICE Facilitator Training session. A member of the Customer Experience team participates remotely in each workshop via phone and will serve as the “subject matter expert” in case any questions cannot be addressed by the local facilitator.
    • The district selects up to 18 workshop attendees (maximum) from among inspectors, technicians, service supervisors, dispatchers, project managers, contract administrators, construction managers, etc.
    • The primary deliverable from the ½-day NICE workshop is a list of 15-20 potential action items aimed at improving service delivery. Those potential actions will be further refined over the next 30 days to select 3 to 5 actions or service process improvements that the district can immediately implement that will begin to change customers perceptions on services delivered by the district.
    • These workshops should be conducted each year at or near the anniversary date of the original workshop—based on customer survey data for that district collected over the previous 12 months. This ensures sustainability.

Karl was nice enough to answer a series of questions:

To begin with, how would you describe your role? Read more of this post

Report: Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012

We just published a Temkin Group report, Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012. It provides NPS data on 175 U.S. companies across 19 industries. Here’s the executive summary:

USAA took the top two spots for its banking and insurance businesses while HSBC came in at the bottom for banking and credit cards. Our analysis of differences across consumer demographic segments showed that NPS tends to go up with age, doesn’t vary much by income levels, and is often highest with Asians. We also asked consumers what would make them more likely to recommend the companies and found that promoters are more likely to select lower prices and detractors are more likely to select better customer service. While there is some debate about the efficacy of NPS, our analysis shows that promoters are much more likely than detractors to purchase more in the future across all industries. To help you implement a successful NPS program, we’ve included eight tips such as don’t believe in an “ultimate question” and use control charts, not pinpointed goals. The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

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The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

The report contains the following components:

  • NPS for 175 companies across 19 industries
  • NPS differences based on age, income, and ethnicity of consumers
  • Improvement areas selected by promoters and detractors by industry
  • Connection between NPS and future purchases by industry
  • Eight tips for implementing a successful NPS program

Figure1Figure4

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The bottom line:  Companies need to give customers a reason to recommend them

VoC Shifts From Surveys To Analytics

In the recent Temkin Group report Prepare for Next Generation VoC Programs, we examined voice of the customer programs within large companies. It turns out that 72% of respondents think predictive analytics models and open-ended verbatims will be more important sources of customer insight over the next three years. Over that same time, only 30% believe that multiple choice survey questions will be more important and 19% expect them to be less important.

This shift is driving an increase in the use of analytics. As you can see below, there’s a large pipeline of companies who are actively considering text mining, predictive analytics, and speech analytics solutions. More companies are actively considering these technologies than currently using them.

The bottom line: VoC programs need to evolve

Report: Prepare for Next Generation VoC Programs

We just published a Temkin Group report, Prepare for Next Generation Voice of the Customer Programs. It examines the current state of VoC programs as well as identifying where these programs need to head. Here’s the executive summary:

Most voice of the customer (VoC) programs are underachieving, being weighed down by historical practices. The next wave of VoC programs will be based on more action-orientation, unstructured data sources, integration, and predictive modeling. We surveyed more than 200 large companies about their voice of the customer programs and compared the results from last year’s research. The typical VoC program has three to five full-time employees and does not measure the ROI of these efforts. Shifts in VoC programs include more use of text mining, predictive analytics, social media, customer interaction history, and mobile feedback while relying less on multiple-choice surveys. We examined six areas of competency for VoC programs: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. While companies have made the largest improvement in their Detect skills, this remains one of the lowest scoring areas. Using our VoC maturity model, we found that only 16% of companies have reached the two highest levels of maturity—Collaborators and Transformers—while 46% remain in the two lowest levels, Novices and Collectors. We also found that high-performing companies have more VoC employees, act more on feedback, and use more analytics. The report includes a self-assessment and data for benchmarking a company’s VoC competencies and maturity level. As VoC programs mature, companies will increasingly need to invest in Customer Insight and Action platforms.

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The report contains 27 figures with data on current VoC programs, our VoC competency and maturity assessment tool, results from companies that completed the VoC  assessment, listing of leading-edge VoC capabilities, and what to look for in a Customer Insight and Action platform. Here are some high-level results from our VoC assessments:

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The bottom line: Don’t settle for your current VoC program

Confirmit Buys CustomerSat As CIA Platforms Evolve

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the customer experience management space is ripe for M&A activity. So it wasn’t a big surprise last week when Confirmit announced that it had acquired CustomerSat from MarketTools. For those of you who don’t know these firms, they both provide what I call Customer Insight and Action (CIA) platforms that are sometimes referred to as Enterprise Feedback Management or EFM. These vendors provide tools and capabilities for organizations to manage their voice of the customer (VoC) programs.

I spoke with Confirmit CEO Henning Hansen and members of his management team about this move. Not surprisingly, they were excited about the opportunities for both companies. CustomerSat brings 120 or so enterprise customers and a strong services team. The execs also spoke about how CustomerSat customers will get access to new capabilities such as Confirmit’s mobile features from its previous acquisition of Techneos. Here are some other tidbits from my discussion:

  • Confirmit is committed to supporting both platforms. Hansen told me that they “will not lose one customer because of shutting off support.” Having said that, the company has not yet defined the combined product roadmap that (from my point of view) must eventually merge the platforms.
  • CustomerSat’s services capabilities will help Confirmit accelerate its plans to add more services around its CIA technology platform.
  • Confirmit will be able to incorporate parts of CustomerSat’s reporting and dashboard capabilities since it is better suited for access by untrained, non-analysts.
  • The companies will not immediately combine the two sales forces, but will incent the two groups to help each other with joint customers and opportunities. I expect that they will combine the salesforce by the beginning of 2013.
  • I suggested that the company should consider rebranding itself from Confirmit to CustomerSat. Hansen said that they were open to looking at all possibilities as they complete the post-acquisition plans.

My take: Although Confirmit did not share any of the financial details of this deal, it appears to be an excellent move. Confirmit has had a strong foothold in Europe and with market research companies that use its platforms as part of their offerings. CustomerSat provides the company with significant scale in the US and a stronger base of enterprise customers. It also needed to round out its platform with more services, which was a strong area for CustomerSat.

This is also an excellent move for CustomerSat and its customers. While CustomerSat is one of the most tenured CIA vendors and has had a strong offering, it was somewhat orphaned when TPG Growth purchased MarketTools to combine other pieces of the company with SurveyMonkey. This move should provide more stability for CustomerSat customers and a stronger long-term roadmap. Having said that, both CustomerSat and Confirmit customers will likely have to deal with some migration issues in the future when Confirmit merges the platforms. I would expect the company to invest heavily in minimizing the impact of these transitions.

More importantly, this solidifies Confirmit as one of the leading CIA vendors for large enterprises along with vendors such as Allegiance, Medallia, Mindshare Technologies, ResponseTek, and Vovici.

As VoC programs continue to expand and mature (see Temkin Group report: Prepare For Next Generation Voice of the Customer Programs), we expect to see demand continue to grow for CIA platforms. These vendors will need to increasingly build out their social media, analytics and mobile capabilities while adding services to support more advanced VoC programs within large enterprises.

I expect to see additional acquisitions in this market as the CIA vendors creep into other markets such as CRM, analytics, market research, and business intelligence.

The bottom line: The CIA market will continue to evolve

Data Snapshot: How Consumers Give Feedback, 2012

We just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, How Consumers Give Feedback, 2012. Many companies rely in part on “word of mouth” to help publicize their brands and their offerings. This Data Snapshot explores forms of “word of mouth.”

Using an online survey, we gathered responses from 10,000 U.S. consumers regarding their behavior after a recent good or bad experience with a company. We’ve analyzed the data across channels, including social media, customer review websites, and company feedback channels, and compared responses among age groups and across gender.

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Here’s the first graphic in the report, looking at the types of feedback across U.S. consumers. As you can see, the most popular thing to do after a good or bad experience is to tell friends via email, phone, or in-person. Consumers are also more likely to tell companies about a bad experience than they are to tell them about a good one.

Some of the additional snipets from the report include:

  • Women are more likely to give feedback.
  • Tendency to discuss experience declines with age.
  • Providing feedback peaks around aged 35 to 44.
  • Younger generations are likely to share feedback with friends.
  • Bad experiences inspire more Facebook posts than good experiences.
  • Tweets about bad experiences outweigh ones about good experiences—barely.
  • Use of feedback sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp peaks around those aged 25 to 34.
  • Feedback rates are similar to last year, but talking to friends declined and Facebook posts increased.
  • Rent-A-Wreck, Fujitsu, Advantage, Audi, Haier, Hyatt, and DHL customers are the most likely to give feedback after a good experience.
  • Fujitsu, Alamo, Rent-A-Wreck, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, Crowne Plaza, and CellularOne customers are the most likely to give feedback after a bad experience.
  • Advantage, Rent-A-Wreck, Fujitsu, Audi, Dollar, Alltel, and Hitachi customers are the most likely to post positive feedback on Facebook.
  • Rental car agencies, appliance makers, and hotel chains customers are most likely to share negative feedback.

The report has the following 12 data-rich graphics:

  1. Customer Behavior After a Good or a Bad Experience
  2. Told Someone About a Very Good or Very Bad Experience—By Age and Gender
  3. Gave Feedback Directly to Company After a Very Good or Very Bad Experience—By Age and Gender
  4. Told Friends via Email or Phone, or in Person About a Very Good or Very Bad Experience—By Age and Gender
  5. Wrote Something on Facebook About Experience—By Age
  6. Wrote Something on Twitter About Experience—By Age
  7. Wrote Something on Third-Party Rating Website About Experience—By Age
  8. Actions Taken After a Recent Very Good or Very Bad Experience—2011 and 2012
  9. We Analyzed Feedback of 249 Companies Across 18 Industries
  10. Percentage of Customers That Are Likely to Tell About a Good or Bad Experience
  11. Percentage of Customers That Are Likely to Send Feedback Directly to Company About a Good or Bad Experience
  12. Percentage of Customers That Are Likely to Write on Facebook About a Good or Bad Experience

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The bottom line: Do you know where and how your customers are giving feedback?

Which Companies Get The Most Feedback?

In the report How Consumers Give Feedback to Companies, we analyzed the different ways in which consumers give feedback to companies. On average, 34% of US consumers give feedback directly to companies after a very bad experience, while 21% give feedback after a very good experience. But how did it differ across companies? In other words, which companies hear more about these interactions than their peers?

I identified the companies that had at least 100 consumers who had these experience, which gave me a list of 144 companies to examine for very bad experiences and 141 to examine for very good experiences. Here are the companies that get the most and the least feedback directly from consumers.

Here are some observations of the data:

  • Direct feedback after a bad experiences ranges from 25% to 52% while direct feedback after a good experience ranges from 19% to 41%.
  • Hotels seem to get the most direct feedback, while banks and retailers hear the least about very good experiences.
  • Led by Hyatt, Hampton Inn and Courtyard By Marriott (at 52%), six companies received feedback on very bad experiences directly from consumers. At the other end of the spectrum, Cablevision, Optimum and Medicaid heard from less than one-third of the consumers that had a bad experience with them.
  • Hyatt wad the only company to hear from at least 40% of consumers that had a very good experience, while FIfth Third heard from less than one-fifth of those highly-satisfied consumers.
  • I also examined the difference between feedback after very bad experiences and feedback after very good experience for each of the companies. Interestingly, only one company (Cablevision) received more feedback after a very good experience than it did after a very bad experience.
  • Here are the 10 companies that receive the most negatively biased feedback (% of very bad feedback minus % of very good feedback):  Vanguard (23%), Fifth Third (22%), Citizens (22%), Travelers (20%), USAA- Bank (20%), Quest (20%), USAA- Investments (19%), HSBC (19%), PNC (19%), TD Ameritrade (18%)

What does it mean?

  • Direct feedback provides companies with a negatively  biased view of consumer experiences.
  • Companies hear from a less than half of consumers that have a very good or very bad experience. In many cases, however, the percentages should be high enough for companies to successfully analyze that feedback.
  • Companies should look at why they aren’t getting high levels of feedback. I’m not sure who came up with this saying, but I totally agree with it: “feedback is a gift.”
  • Getting feedback is only one part of the equation. you still need to learn from it and and act on what you learn.

The bottom line: For every consumer who gives you feedback about a great experience, you probably have three to four others that feel the same way but didn’t tell you.

 

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Report: State Of Voice Of The Customer Programs, 2011

We just published a new Temkin Group report, The State Of Voice Of The Customer Programs, 2011.

Here’s the executive summary:

Voice of the customer (VoC) programs are a popular customer experience management tool. We surveyed 192 large companies about their VoC programs and found that most of these efforts are successful. Typical programs employ three to five full-time employees and are not yet using social media or mobile channels. The respondents completed Temkin Group’s VoC Maturity Assessment, which gauges the effectiveness of these programs in six areas: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. The results show that only 2% of companies have reached the highest level of maturity. We recommend that companies use the assessment tool and data included in the report to benchmark their own maturity level and identify areas for improvement.

Download report for $195

The report introduces a new tool, Temkin Group’s VoC Maturity Assessment. We use data from our 30-question assessment to evaluate the VoC programs at 192 large companies across the “6 Ds” of a closed-loop VoC program. On average, the companies received ratings between “poor” and “okay” for all 6Ds, with the highest score in “Discuss” and the lowest in “Detect.”

While the averages highlight many opportunities for improvement, a number of companies already have good VoC ratings:

  • Detect: 20% are “good” or “very good”
  • Disseminate: 24% are “good” or “very good”
  • Diagnose: 28% are “good” or “very good”
  • Discuss: 32% are “good” or “very good”
  • Design: 18% are “good” or “very good”
  • Deploy: 24% are “good” or “very good”

Using the data, we’re able to identify the stage of maturity for each of the VoC programs. The data shows that there’s a lot of room for improvement; only 2% of companies have reached the highest level of maturity: “Transformers.” At the other end of the spectrum, 14% of companies are “Novices,” the lowest level of maturity.

Download report for $195

The bottom line: Voice of the customer programs are in their adolescence

Stop Listening To Customers… Sometimes

In a recent post, I listed valuable quotes from Steve Jobs. Here’s one of them:

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

Jobs seems to be saying that you shouldn’t bother listening to customers. Is that what companies should do?

My take: No. Companies should not stop listening to customers. But they do need to understand what they’re listening for and recognize the limitation to some listening systems.

To start the discussion, here’s a basic loyalty model that I like to use. It’s based on defining a simple hierarchy of customer needs:

  • Expectations: What customers think they’ll get from a company, which is heavily based on their perception of the company.
  • Core needs: What customers want from a company, which is heavily influenced by their perception of what is normal and mainstream in an industry.
  • Desires: What customers really want, which is not based on any company or industry activity and is often difficult for them to articulate.

As companies meet these needs, they build stronger emotional connections with customers. At the highest level, when they meet customers’ desires, companies end up with engaged customers — the raving fans that will promote and defend the brand.

Going back to Jobs’ comment, I agree that you can’t rely on simple customer feedback to identify their desires. Consumers weren’t telling Apple that they wanted a new MP3 player, iTunes, an Apple phone, or even Apple retail stores. Those “breakthrough” experiences came from understanding what customers really desire. In technology, desires can be even more difficult to articulate because people can’t even imagine the possibility of future capabilities.

Most customer listening efforts, which are often part of voice of the customer programs, can uncover expectations and many of customers’ core needs. But they are weak at uncovering desires. To grow the number of engaged customers, companies need to think of less traditional ways of getting customer feedback to uncover desires, like ethnography. It also helps to have a visionary like Steve Jobs who can envision the potential of technology and the evolution of consumer desires.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t have someone like Steve Jobs to rely on.

The bottom line: if you listen to customers, you might not hear their desires

CX Mistake #9: Falling In Love With A Metric

In this series of posts, we examine some of the top mistakes companies make in their customer experience management efforts. This post examines mistake #9: Falling In Love With A Metric. Companies often get enamored with a metric like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and lose sight of what’s really important, making improvements.

Customer experience efforts absolutely need metrics and measurements. While there’s value in collecting that data to measure or track customer experience, the true power comes when it provides insight into where and how to make improvements. But some organizations over-emphasize the metric. Companies going down this path can run into problems when they:

  • Rush into compensation. Tying business results to metrics can be a good thing. But tying too much compensation too early to any metric can also cause a lot of problems. If people have a significant part of their pay tied to a metric they don’t understand or don’t know how to affect, then they will either ignore it, get bitter about it, or find ways to “game” the system. Customer experience doesn’t improve if salespeople are calling out to customers and begging them to give higher ratings on a survey.
  • Can’t answer “why.” Reporting on a metric can highlight strengths and weaknesses of a company’s overall customer experience. So it’s understandable that some executive teams push for widespread use of those metrics without caring about the overall set of information collected from customers. But if the company does not understand “why” customers are either happy or unhappy, then they can’t systematically improve customer experience and positively affect the metric.
  • Overuse a metric. Understanding if a customer is happy overall with an organization is quite different than understanding if her needs were met during a specific service call. But some companies blindly use the same metrics for each of those areas. A metric like NPS, for example, may be appropriate for examining relationship strength, but it’s necessarily good for evaluating interactions.
  • Forget their uniqueness. Every business has a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, goals and ambitions. But when it comes to customer experience metrics, companies often want to use the same measures as everyone else. While this may enable benchmarking comparison to other firms, it does not necessarily measure how the company is progressing towards its unique goals.

Here are some tips for avoiding this mistake:

  • Treat relationships and interactions differently. The questions you ask a customer about how they view your company can (and often should) be quite different than those that you ask about an interaction. Think about different questions and methods for five different types of insights: Relationship tracking, interaction monitoring, continuous listening, project infusion, and periodic immersion.
  • Deploy shadow metrics before making large incentive changes. To help leaders in your company understand the impact of customer experience incentives, put in place the metrics you are thinking about for a couple of periods before actually making them “live.” That way people can see how it will affect them before actually does affect them.
  • Establish performance bands, not absolute targets. Customer feedback metrics can be a bit jittery. Sometimes it can be very hard to explain small movements since there’s always some variance due to sampling limitations. Rather than establishing “a number” as the goal, set targets for high and low scores. Success comes from consistently execceding the low band.
  • Measure relevant attitudes and behaviors. Businesses aren’t in the business of getting random people to recommend them. They hope to get that type of loyalty from successfully executing their mission. Develop measurements that test the attitudes and behaviors of target customer segments, making sure they line up with your specific business and brand strategy.
  • Build a robust voice of the customer (VoC) program. Creating isolated metrics will not drive change in an organization; especially when people don’t understand what drives the metric. Companies need to develop a voice of the customer (VoC) program that continuously shares actionable customer insights across the organization.

The bottom line: Use metrics to improve the experience, not just measure it

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