On Metrics: Brand Recommendation or Satisfaction with the Experience?

I was recently in a new client’s office discussing the merits of using Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Top Box Overall Satisfaction (OSAT) as the key customer experience metric. That lively discussion highlighted the differences in the two metrics. At Market Force, we think about and use them in very different ways—and it has to do with the exact question being asked.

NPS asks “How likely are you to recommend [brand name] to a friend or colleague?” The question focuses on engagement with the brand itself, and very likely reflects everything from the brand reputation to the products offered. Consider Apple and the iPhone as an example. However, if you are interested in measuring a transactional experience in a multi-location business—we advocate using a different question: “How satisfied were you with your experience at this Apple location?” The questions then become focused on the experience in the store rather than the connection to the brand itself.

In Market Force’s customer experience (CX) management practice with multi-location businesses, we see both metrics being used. We recommend using a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being not at all satisfied and 5 being very satisfied, or delighted. We report top box OSAT as the measure of choice. There are two primary reasons for this choice. First, it’s very actionable at the location level. Based on absolute and relative benchmarks, our clients can set performance goals for every location unique to their individual needs. Second, our panel research clearly shows that competition in every industry is very tight. Receiving a 4 instead of a 5 on a satisfaction metric means anywhere from a 2x to 12x difference in likelihood to recommend. To be competitive you must create a best-in-class/top box experience; you must delight, not just satisfy, your customers.

Our financial modeling work has found that overall satisfaction—and the critical drivers of that metric—predict revenue growth metrics, ranging from same store sales growth for restaurants to revenue per available room for hotels. Our survey design practice advises implementing both questions—satisfaction with the experience and brand recommendation—to get both views. And we clearly advise not being solely dependent on NPS as a metric for your multi-location brand. Your operations teams may see a NPS result as intangible and very difficult to improve their score while specific transactional experiences may seem more in their span of control.

For more detail on how Market Force links financial data to customer experience metrics, please see a recent webinar that we conducted with Forrester on the topic. In this webinar, our own Dr. Cheryl Flink, Chief Strategy Officer for Market Force, compares notes and best practices with Harley Manning, Vice President and Research Director–Forrester. And of course, our Customer Experience eBook provides a very detailed perspective on implementing a comprehensive measurement strategy. 

Time to reconsider the Financial Services Customer Journey

According to Deloitte nearly three quarters (72%) of consumers still want to use their local branch to access financial services. This emphasizes the importance of the branch experience on customer loyalty—at least for now. However, our most recent competitive benchmark shows over one in ten banking customers are not satisfied with their relationship with their primary bank. This makes brands vulnerable to losing market share. Overall, 12% of all banking customers are considering switching banks in the next 6 months, with individual brands ranging from 10% to 19%. Our study also shows that many financial companies have a long way to go in order to create a positive encounter with most of their touchpoints. Look at the following:

  • 1 in 6 consumers are dissatisfied with their experience interacting with their bank’s call center
  • Nearly 1 in 5 customers had a recent problem; fees were the most common problem, followed by operations issues while inside the branch
  • Of those with a problem, 13% said it was not resolved, resulting in a net loss of 46% in overall satisfaction

The research also shows that the advisory experience clearly impacts customer loyalty. Consumers continue to visit their banks’ physical branches to speak with and advisor—and over two thirds were very satisfied with that interaction. However, although bank advisors execute well on the basics such as explaining products and services, they miss opportunities to build relationships by asking questions to understand consumers’ needs and following through on commitments. Most large scale financial institutions are investigating the customer journey and the impact each touchpoint has on customer satisfaction. They would do well to consider the following:

  1. Driving Satisfaction: To create true loyalty, and not simply complacency, banks need to deliver an excellent experience that makes it easy to do business with the bank and builds a sense of trust with consumers. This means focusing on consumers’ financial well-being with great advisory services and creating transparency regarding fees.
  2. Resolving problems is critical: Besides impacting overall satisfaction, unresolved problems lead to decreased recommendation rates. Very few disappointed consumers tell brands they were disappointed, and that leaves brands open to loss of wallet share and poor ratings in social media.
  3. Banking brands have opportunities to differentiate: Banking customers scored their primary banks low on concern with the customer’s financial well-being, understanding unique needs, and even community investment.

These are big undertakings and require a strong discipline to develop the right strategy when they begin the customer process. Consider the following when you embark on a customer journey strategy:

  • Do advisors ask the right questions to ascertain needs and make solid product recommendations?
  • Does your bank have the right processes in place to listen and respond if customers have issues—and is the response consistent across channels?
  • Are you listening to your customers across all of the relevant online, social, and conventional channels?
  • Are you aggregating and disseminating information in effective ways?
  • Do you have a clear picture of reality in terms of your ability to execute against your standards and training?

Market Force’s banking customer journey maps assess the channels customers use to engage with your bank. We will help you identify customer expectations and frustrations at every touchpoint—and show gaps in the overall omni-channel experience. If effectively designed, your customer journey mapping can create an effortless customer journey—and that will insulate you from customer defections and help you improve the number of products each customer wants to purchase from your bank. That’s a great ROI.

Contact our experts today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation that will help you determine whether it’s time to consider a customer journey strategy for your banking customers.

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Charles is a customer experience management expert with over 28 years experience. In that time, he has assisted more than 200 service related companies with their efforts to improve customer experience and loyalty. His education and training includes advanced graduate degrees in Statistics and Market Research Methodology.

What Do Your Employees Think About Their Jobs? Five Tips for Finding Out!

Retailers with brick-and-mortar stores need to differentiate from online channel retailers. What will help create that differentiation? Engaged staff that love their brand, understand the mission statement and are empowered to create great customer experiences.

To find out whether your brand has created the culture and environment that engages employees, you’ll need to ask them. But doing that, especially across very large organizations, can present obstacles. Here are five tips we’ve created based on our work with large retailers who want to find out what their employees think. 

  1. Design the questionnaire so that it asks about two distinct components: Engagement and Empowerment. Engagement questions will help you understand whether employees are loyal to the brand, understand its mission, and feel like they have opportunities with your company. Empowerment questions will pinpoint whether employees feel they have adequate training and tools to deliver against the job expectations.
     
  2. Always assure employees that their data is confidential. For example, use email invitation methods that include a unique location code to ensure employees remain anonymous. Employees must be assured that their commentary is safe and there will be no negative consequences for speaking their minds.
     
  3. Think carefully about whether you can actually reach employees. In the restaurant industry, your brand may not have the ability to contact employees of franchisees—so they will need to focus on corporately owned restaurants. Similarly, you will need to ensure that employees have the tools to answer the survey. Do they have access to PC’s, tablets or phones? Can they respond to both URL and text invitations? Channels will matter.
     
  4. Survey your employees 2x per year—but only if you are committed to acting on the data. Follow the initial survey with a pulse survey to those who had not immediately responded, aiming for an overall 60% response rate. The second can take place approximately 7 months after you first identify where metrics are changing. And remember—you absolutely must act on the data or you will lose employees’ trust.
     
  5. Combine the employee engagement data with other data—like mystery shop scores, customer surveys, contact center complaints, and/or financial data. Spend time understanding how employee engagement and empowerment impacts execution to brand standards, the ability to delight customers, and financial metrics. Understanding what your employees needand acting on those needsmay be the best way to grow your business.

To learn more about our employee engagement best practices, schedule a briefing with us. And check out our case study to find out how one retailer used employee engagement surveys to increase customer recommendations and lower service costs. 

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Charlotte is a Key Account Manager for Market Force Information Europe. Specializing in the retail industry and working closely with our analytics team, she builds programs that align with business goals and strengthens customer experience management strategies. 

Innovation in Social Media: The Power of a Listening Ear

Social media strategies now require a large percentage of our marketing budgets. In fact, Forrester research forecasts that US social media spending will increase dramatically in the next five years, from $13 billion in 2016 to $30 billion in 2021 with a growth rate of 16.9%. In Europe, growth is projected at 18.4%, from $7.4 billion in 2016 to $17.3 billion in 2016 (US dollars). And advertising is only one component of social media dollars spent by big brands. We divide that spend into three separate categories:

Responding to CX commentary. Customers post their customer experience comments to both corporate and site level Facebook and Twitter pages. Brands have built strategies for managing those comments, focusing on taking negative commentary offline and recovering unhappy customers. Positive commentary can be used to uplift and motivate employees. Direct recognition for great work can immediately impact morale!

Managing third party reviews. Reviews posted to Yelp, Trip Advisor and other third party sites have become increasingly important. For example, understanding sentiment, categories of commentary, and trends—and comparing that information to key competitors—form the very basics of what your brand needs to be watching. Also, in the restaurant industry more than 67 percent of customers take online reviews into consideration when making a purchasing decision (as published by Modern Restaurant Management). In Market Force’s research, we clearly see the influence of sites like Pinterest for fashion and even comparative pricing apps like GasBuddy for gas.  

Creating engagement and innovation through advertising. We love it when brands use social media to innovate. Flynn Decker, CMO for Wingstop, gave a great interview to Loyalty 360 (https://loyalty360.org/content-gallery/daily-news/wingstop-carries-its-innovative-spirit-through-dig) about how Wingstop is using social media and CX data to engage with customers. Wingstop has aligned its CX strategy to match the heavy use of online ordering, recognition of the importance of mobility, and the first-of-its-kind social auction series on Periscope “THUMP by Wingstop.” Users bid on prizes by tapping the Periscope heart button. 

As you think about your own budget for social media, divide it into those things that will a) create and drive revenue, like engaging your customer base through advertising, b) those that will help you mitigate risk, like taking negative conversations offline, and c) those that will help you drive down costs, like using commentary and third party reviews to help your teams perform better. Every dollar you spend can be leveraged to drive your business. 

 

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As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.​

 

Engaged Employees: The Key to a Thriving Brand

So much has been written about the importance of employee engagement that it almost seems foolish to spend time talking about it. But if we are creating environments that created happy, productive employees, why do organizations like Gallup report that only about one third of employees report being “engaged” in their work?

The reality of what employees actually think about your brand, their job, and your customers needs to be measured. Why? Because literally hundreds of research studies, including those from Market Force, show that engaged employees create more revenue, lower costs, and create more loyal customers. In one study by Market Force, we found that a 30% difference in absentee rate and a 19% difference in retention between locations with high vs. low employee engagement.

Employee engagement is a vital part of your customer experience management strategy. So how should you measure employee engagement? You will need to assess satisfaction and engagement in two core areas: Engagement and Enablement. Consider the following in each core area: 

  • Engagement. Do your employees love your brand? Do they understand your mission? Do they personally believe that the brand and the location they work in serves customers well? Do they believe that their job matters to the business and that they do their job well? Do they believe they can grow and learn?
  • Enablement. Do your employees have the tools and training they need to do their jobs? Do they receive regular feedback about their performance? Do they understand corporate policies and how to follow them? Do they have a reasonable workload and are able to balance?

In restaurant and retail, employees come and go. You may think the revolving door is inevitable. It’s not. By getting a clear picture of what employees need in these two core areas, and then having the fortitude to act on what you learn, your brand will thrive and be the place where the best want to work. 

As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.

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To discuss your needs for improving performance for your multi-location brand, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss best practices for measuring the customer experience and compliance to brand standards, using analytics to understand what matters most and the ROI for change, and technology solutions that integrate large quantities of data on one single platform. We look forward to a great discussion!

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