We invited Eleanor Leger, former lead of Intuit, QuickBooks Customer Experience initiative, now with Creative Good (of which I am a council member - thanx Mark Yolton), to talk to us about the cornerstones of their customer experience initiatives. It was a valuable conversation.
Some interesting concepts emerged:
- Intuit uses the Net Promoter Score as a lagging indicator of customer satisfaction and leading indicator of financial performance. Its calculated as the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors - and provides the single most reliable indicator of a company's ability to grow. Intuit treas their NPS in the same way they treat EPS, in fact when they report quarterly earnings, they also report their Net Promoter score. Why? Because it provides a means for gauging performance, establishing accountability, and prioritizing investments because it connects directly to growth.
The average firm sputters along at an NPS efficiency of only 5 to 10%. In other words, promoters barely outnumber detractors. What does this mean in real terms for companies? Well, at a firm that Eleanor referenced, they found that detractors were 10x more active in hammering at the firm than promoters were in recommending the firm and its products. According to Fred Reichheld, who developed the NPS, a 5% improvement in customer retention can boost profits by up to 100%.
Many firms - and some entire industries - have negative Net Promoter Scores, which means that they are creating more detractors than promoters day in and day out. These low scores explain why so many companies can't deliver profitable, sustainable growth, no matter how aggressively they spend to acquire new business.
2. Intuit does an awful lot of ethnographic research although they don't call it that. They call it their "follow me home program", in which they send employees out to watch customers use the software in their context... something that most software companies do not do nearly enough of. So a question for all of you software types... when was the last time you spoke to a customer? Or Better yet, when was the last time you watched them try to use your software? Microsoft Business Anthropologists worked with 50 some odd families during the development of Vista. Some 800 changes were made to Vista using this ethnographic research.
3. Get your senior execs to feel the pain. We just didn't hear this at Intuit but in talking to the Customer Experience team at Capital One as well. Martin Murell tells us that they put senior execs in their call centers. After an hour of having their ears burned off by pissed off customers, both companies in fact put a lot more emphasis on customer experience... which is why SAP if focusing on customer feedback initiatives and tools as a cornerstone of our customer experience drive.
Good stuff... but boy do we have alot to do.