Archive for March, 2007

The Customer Experience – exists even at your local carwash

March 8, 2007

Maybe my eyes are too wide open.  Maybe I’m seeking out instances where companies over-promise and under-deliver. 

Am I?  You tell me. 

With all the snow that we have had recently in the Northeast,  I had washed my car several times within a short period of time…and it would inevitably snow the very next day after each wash.  So when I pulled up on day 10 for wash #3, everything looked pretty familiar, especially as I had become a regular at this particular car wash over a number of years.  With my coupon for an “external wash only” in hand, I was informed by the greeter that there was new sheriff (oops, owner) in town and that he was no longer accepting this type of coupon. 

I looked down at the coupon.  It hadn’t expired. The name of the carwash was still the same.  I was at the right carwash, on the right day.  So what gives, I asked.  (more…)


Look for What’s Right Instead of What’s Wrong

March 1, 2007

Sometimes work with a client resonates with personal experience.  That has been true of my past several months working with VIA Rail Canada, feeling that we – the consultant and the client – are on a journey together to explore how the positive approach to “what is possible?” can transform relationships.

Last fall VIA approached us with a request for us to “demonstrate our training model for coaching” and I responded “I do not have an answer when I do not know the question.” In other words, I needed to know why they felt they needed training in coaching skills.  What was the organizational issue that training was supposed to solve? 

Asking questions is powerful. After listening carefully to what their needs were, I suggested that the approach to addressing their issues might be built around “appreciative inquiry,” an organizational development philosophy first introduced in the 1990s by David Cooperrider and others. That suggestion struck a chord and from it a consulting relationship has developed in which we are working with them to identify and celebrate what is extraordinary about their organization and its commitment to customer service.

Net Promoter – What’s in a Metric?

March 1, 2007

Net Promoter Score (or NPS) is a concept that has seized hold of the “customer loyalty” industry because of its simplicity and the logical inference of a positive score vs. a negative score.

It’s easy to calculate — are more people recommending your product or service (“promoting”) as opposed to ignoring it/denigrating it (“detractors”). If the former exceeds the latter…then it only makes sense that it would have a positive impact on your company, right? Simple, intuitive and to the point…which is why Fred Reicheld and the other developers of NPS are rightfully basking in the spotlight.

While NPS is a revealing metric, there is a danger in hailing any one measure as the “ultimate question” in unlocking the mysteries of customer loyalty and financial growth. And when it comes down to it, I don’t believe that any of the NPS advocates are steadfastly insisting that this is the only information of value when assessing the “customer-centricity” and growth potential of an operation. (more…)