All Posts Tagged With: "customer loyalty"
It’s an old question—“What will help us attract and retain customers?”—with a very new answer: gaming. In “Play to win: The game-based economy” (Fortune, September 3, 2010), JP Mangalindan describes companies that “study and identify natural human tendencies and employ game-like mechanisms to give customers a sense that they’re having fun while working towards a rewards-based goal.” Companies don’t do this because they want their customers to have fun; they do it because it helps them attract and retain customers, which increases their revenues.
If you’re wondering how “gamification” might apply to your company, consider Mangalindan’s examples:
- Mint.com made personal finance a game. You can set a financial goal online and track your performance toward achieving it. You can check out your total financial score, which encourages financially responsible behavior. You can even compete with other members who have similar goals. If you think that sounds lame, think again: Mint.com claims more than 1.5 million active users.
- Nike sells a pedometer (Nike +) that you put in your sneakers. It monitors distance, pace, and calories burned and transmits the data to your iPod. The Nike software on your iPod “rewards” you if you reach a milestone. For example, if you run and you best your 5-mile distance time,
If your organization is interested in serving the post-industrial marketplace (if it’s not, you’re in trouble), Seth Godin is as good a guide as you’re going to find. Not only does he know what’s going on, he understands the impact of rapid technological change on business. As he writes, “the world is being remade again and again, and the agents of change are the winners.”
The quote comes from “A post-industrial A to Z digital battledore,” which lists his 26 favorite neologisms (even though most are not newly-invented words). Several thought-provoking definitions relate to meeting customer requirements including:
- C is for Choice: “Digital commerce enables niches” because “given the choice, people will take the choice.”
- F is for the Free Prize: “People often don’t buy the obvious or measured solution to their problem, they buy the extra, the bonus, the feeling and the story.”
- I is for Ideavirus: “Ideas that spread win, and you can architect and arrange and manipulate your ideas to make them more likely to spread.”
- K is for kindle: Not the ebook reader. “The internet responds better to bonfires that are kindled over time, to ideas that spread because the idea itself is the engine, not the hype or the promotion.”
- O is for the Orangutan:
In the 1980s, four out of five American car buyers were loyal to the company that manufactured their brand. I remember growing up in a Chevy family and we had friends who were Ford people and we were as loyal to our car brand as we were to our religion.
In 2009, only one in five Americans was loyal to the same car brand.
In “The Manufacturer’s World Has Changed Forever” (IndustryWeek, July 14, 2010), Robert Bloom provides this contrast in customer loyalty to point out that the purchasing behavior of customers has changed, which is old news to any company that’s managed to keep its head above water the last two years, but his case study is interesting. Italy’s Fiat Auto reported a net loss of nearly two billion euros in 2002 and experts thought it would not survive. In 2008, it reported a trading profit of more than 1.1 billion euros—a three billion euro turnaround in six years.
How did Fiat Auto do it? Bloom lists several key actions:
- Terminated a failing venture with General Motors to gain full decision-making autonomy
- Eliminated an entire floor of executives to reduce costs and bureaucracy
- Cut Fiat’s product development time in half to get products to market quickly
When Pal’s Sudden Service, a small fast-food chain in Tennessee, won the Baldrige Award in 2001, its president, Thom Crosby, suddenly realized that winning prohibited them from reapplying for five years. “I called up the head of the program and asked if we could decline the award and stay in the system. He didn’t want to hear that.”
Pal’s continues to conduct annual internal assessments because, as Crosby states, “I’m a real big believer.” Like other world-class companies, Pal’s benefits from asking and answering key questions that reveal how the organization works. The snapshot produced by this exercise becomes the engine for change, improvement, and success.
The questions explore all areas that are critical to an effective management system. Many of the questions have never been asked, which means many of the areas they address have never been evaluated. And therein lays their power.
A few years ago I asked these questions of senior leaders at an organization that dominated market share in its industry. One question in particular solicited a variety of responses. The question was: How do you determine key customer requirements and expectations?
Many of the leaders talked about how they interacted with their customers daily. Others mentioned customer surveys, complaints, and lost customer interviews, among other …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
Net promoter score (NPS) is a measure of customer loyalty that many companies are using instead of customer satisfaction surveys. You determine your NPS by asking customers a single question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” Customers use a 0 to 10 rating scale, and their responses are categorized as Promoters (9-10 rating), Passives (7-8 rating), and Detractors (0-6 rating).
You determine your NPS by subtracting the percent of Detractors from the percent of Promoters. Scores of 75% or higher are considered very good.
Church of the Customer Blog recently reported on the 2010 NPS Industry Benchmark reports released by Satmetrix. The NPS leaders by industry are:
- Airlines: Jet Blue (64%)
- Auto Insurance: USAA (78%)
- Banking: USAA (81%)
- Brokerage & Investments: Charles Schwab (46%)
- Cable & Satellite TV: DIRECTV (27%)
- Cellular Phone Service: Verizon (41%)
- Computer Hardware: Apple (78%)
- Consumer Software: Adobe Systems (37%)
- Credit Cards: American Express (27%)
- Department, Wholesale & Specialty Stores: Costco (66%)
- Grocery & Supermarkets: Trader Joe’s (69%)
- Health Insurance: BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois (5%)
- Homeowners Insurance: USAA (69%)
- Internet Service: Road Runner/Time Warner (21%)
- Life Insurance: State Farm (34%)
- Online Search & Information: Facebook (65%)
- Online Shopping: Amazon.com (71%)
A few things jump out of this …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
I was halfway into “Lost” when an alarm blared in my hotel room. A recorded voice told me to exit the hotel using the stairs. I did what most people probably do, which was check the hallway and look out the window. I didn’t see or smell a fire. I started putting my shoes on when a different voice announced that we should stay where we were while they assessed the threat. I watched “Lost.” A few minutes later, the first voice once again demanded that we leave the building. I was on the 17th floor and was in no hurry to comply, but I finished getting my shoes on, grabbed my wallet, phone, and briefcase, and headed for the stairs. I never got there: The second voice explained that it was a false alarm and we could return to our rooms.
A month later I stayed in the same hotel. Same thing happened, although they were more efficient this time: They told us to ignore the alarm before I could get my shoes on.
The next morning, the hotel forgot my wake-up call.
When they sent an email asking me to take a short survey, I did, explaining why the false alarms and missed call accounted for the …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
USAA insures military members and their families. It does this really well: Its customer retention rate is 97.8%.
The company’s call centers are critical to serving customers located around the world. Its call center reps spend six months in training before answering customers’ calls. They eat MREs (meals ready to eat), find out what it feels like to wear Kevlar vests and flak helmets, and receive deployment letters to get them thinking about what such letters mean to the families they affect.
USAA understands its customers’ needs. It was founded by 25 Army officers in 1922; almost a quarter of its management and new hires have served in the military. It has ranked number 1 or 2 every year for the four years of the BusinessWeek and J.D. Powers Customer Service Champions list. No other company has come close to matching its performance. (“USAA’s Battle Plan,” Jena McGregor, BusinessWeek, February 18, 2010)
Mobile customers require mobile banking and insurance solutions. With USAA, a service member can use his iPhone to send a photo of his check to the USAA bank and it is deposited in his account. He can find out his balance with a text message. Later this year, he should be able to email or text-message …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued