Getting to the Heart of NPS: Culture

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
My last <a href="http://www.1to1media.com/weblog/2009/01/take_a_new_look_at_the_ultimat.html#more">blog entry</a>, which debated the methodology of tying <a href="http://www.satmetrix.com/">Net Promoter Score</a> to incentives and bonuses, garnered a variety of surprising feedback. Despite the varying opinions, the consensus was that NPS is a step in the right direction as well as a rallying cry for companies to align themselves with customers.

My last blog entry, which debated the methodology of tying Net Promoter Score to incentives and bonuses, garnered a variety of surprising feedback. Despite the varying opinions, the consensus was that NPS is a step in the right direction as well as a rallying cry for companies to align themselves with customers. But much of the debate boiled down to culture, which is at the heart of NPS' success. Two examples of companies that have applied non-analytical methods for creating a shift in employee engagement in their organizations' cultures are Dell and Experian.

In their recently released book "Answering the Ultimate Question: How Net Promoter Can Transform Your Business," Richard Owen and Laura Brooks, Ph.D, interviewed Laura DeSoto, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Experian, about how the company turned its vision of a customer-centric culture into a reality.

DeSoto said the company lacked a common vision of what "good client service" meant and the organization needed to understand what its clients wanted. Experian interviewed customers to understand what drove their loyalty. Then they developed touchpoint maps to assist in the development of a future experience and drove training around the delivery of good service.

The company trained employees through a series of six sessions called "Client Promise in Daily Work," which helped employees internalize the client promise in their particular roles. Change leaders also generated support for the client promise.

Experian ultimately improved the customer experience by ingraining customer centricity into the fabric of employees' daily workflow.

To instill its employee-focused culture, Owen and Brooks said that Dell created an employee campaign to encourage participation. In the book, Laura Bosworth, director of global customer experience strategy, said that every employee needed to embrace the experience of the customers from the top down.

The campaign involved the collaboration of customer service and the corporate communications team to develop a campaign aimed at awareness of the customer experience. Called "Be the Reason Customers Choose Dell," the campaign included employee-focused rallies, posters, and websites. Beyond that, Dell enacted employee training and it amended the HR system to include customer experience-based recognition.

Experian and Dell provide great examples of companies that invest in its employees to improve the customer experience.

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EXPERT OPINION