Be A Transformation Agent

original_the-secret-of-change-is-to-wall-stickerIt is a well documented fact that most people are not very fond of change and avoid it whenever possible out of fear, but as much as people dislike and fear change, they practically abhor the thought of transformation because it goes against the basic human instinct to want to protect, defend, and preserve what it already in existence.

Driving transformation is different than simply driving change because true transformation requires more than incremental repackaging of the old… it requires being willing to evaluate the current state, being willing to start over from scratch if necessary, and charting a course to the preferred future. True transformation cannot happen unless there is a willingness to do whatever is needed to be successful… that means that nothing (or at least very little) is sacred.

I have worked for large corporation and small startups and although there are numerous differences in these companies… there is a commonality on wanting to rely on what has already been done, rather than what could be. I have heard “but we have always done it this way” more times than I care to remember and I have had to have those difficult conversations to help move people from their embattled positions… to being willing to entertain how transformation could actually improve things.

The bottom line is… I don’t want to be satisfied by just being a change agent… I want to be a transformation agent!

If you want some steps to begin a transformational work. Here is a  link to one of our other posts Getting Back To Basics

The Inner Workings of EMC…

Recently there have been numerous rumors flying around about EMC… shocking… there always is! The danger of any type of speculation (a theory or conjecture without firm evidence) is that it distracts you from the present… and as the 2014 Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson says… “There’s no time to sleep!”… Well, theres no time to be distracted either!

I have worked at EMC for six years and have been responsible for managing the global Customer Loyalty programs for one of our largest divisions. I have worked with dozens of high ranking executives and hundreds of managers, teams, and individuals. Do you want some insider information on EMC? Do you want to know the inner workings of EMC and what makes us tick? Well, it is really quite simple, it’s called TOTAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

EMC’s Total Customer Experience is a companywide program committed to consistently exceeding customer and partner expectations as they engage, enable, and evolve with us. I can personally attest that our employees are passionate about the customer experience and find ways every day to go above and beyond to ensure that we are investing in areas that matter most to our customers.

On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, our company will hold celebrations around the world in observance of what we are calling the Total Customer Experience Day, a special occasion to reinforce our commitment to providing customers and partners with the very best experience in our industry. The day will include 10+ onsite events at EMC offices in 7 countries, as well as a virtual celebration with an interactive online discussion.

DURING THIS EVENT YOU WILL:

  • Hear from customers on their end-to-end EMC experience
  • Learn about EMC’s holistic approach tomeasure and act on customer feedback
  • Hear from passionate employees and leaders about why they are committed to the customer experience
  • Tour the brand new Experience Analytics Showcase—an interactive demo that highlights diverse aspects of the customer experience and will be available to everyone on emc.com on October 7th!
  • Ask technical experts your questions during a live Q&A session

We hope you will join us!
https://community.emc.com/docs/DOC-38953

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The New Game Of Telephone!

It has never been more important than now to have a very well planned and executed Customer Loyalty Program. Customer Loyalty has always been important because we naturally want to share our stories and experiences with one another… it goes back to that fundamental desire for us to be known by others.

We have more and more ways to communicate and share our stories with others. It is no longer a select few people who have a voice beyond just their family and friends… now the whole world has access to our stories in many cases.

I am “relatively new” to the social media space over the last five years and I personally have:

  • 565 friends on Facebook
  • 600+ Connections on LinkedIn
  • 184 followers on Twitter
  • … and a couple of hundred subscribers on each of my two blogs

That is nearly 1800 “quantifiable” people who I have access to hear my stories about the good and bad experiences I am having with products, services, and companies… but anyone can read my tweets and read my blogs so it is actually much larger than that!

So, in a world that is more and more interconnected we never know who we are making loyal or disloyal. The lowly system administrator (so says the former technical geek) may also be a very successful social media guru and have over a million people they can reach with their stories. If you are not creating a place for EVERYONE to share broadly about why they are loyal or disloyal to your company…you are running a high risk of missing a vital opportunity to turn around those disloyal customers.

Loyalty study objectives should be:

  • Give every single customer a voice
  • Measure loyalty (statistical and anecdotal)
  • Find out what things to improve/change to increase customer loyalty (continuous improvement)
  • Leverage extremely loyal customers (references, etc)
  • Turn experiences around for disloyal customers

Customer Loyalty… It’s More Than Statistics!

I was recently having a conversation with some of my industry friends about Customer Loyalty and a growing trend of compromise we are seeing in the industry. Customer Loyalty Programs are still “fairly new” in the marketplace and therefore the adoption rates continue to increase rapidly, however the early adopter stage has long passed and now we are starting to see some compromises being introduced into some of these programs.

The trend we have been noticing and others have seen as well Is what I like to call “Statistical Sanitization”. This is where for various reasons programs start to be slanted in a way that the statistics tell the story that you want them to tell, rather than analyzing the statistics and then developing the story… the truth! When you start to segment, departmentalize, and distribute only the data you are most interested in… it can become borderline gaming the system.

Customer Loyalty Program are only holistic if they have the following characteristics:
1) The invitation to participate is 100% inclusive of your entire customer base
2) The survey is detailed and tells you what your customers REALLY think
3) It allows you enough deep dive information to drive continuous improvements in your business
4) It acts like an early warning system and allows you to identify brush fires before they become forest fires
5) It includes closed loop follow-up conversations directly with your customers
6) Although It is very important to be able to segment, departmentalize, and distribute the data… you need to start with the entire sample first.

A few goals I always have in Customer Loyalty Programs:
1) You need a single customer loyalty metric. (NPS, OSAT, Index, etc)
2) You need to understand how each product and functional area effects your Company Loyalty
a. You need actionable feedback/data that correlates to loyalty for each product you have and each functional areas of your business
3) The goal is to drive continuous improvement actions at all levels of your business
4) Continuous Improvements should be tracked and positively influence the Company Loyalty over time

The “Magic Bullet” Survey Methodology…

I was recently talking to some of my loyalty industry colleagues about different methodologies and metrics that we use to quantify customer loyalty. There were many different approaches, opinions, and thoughts on the matter of course, but there were 2 universal beliefs among all of us:

1) There is NO “Magic Bullet Survey Methodology”
2) Taking “real” actions based upon the data is most important

Let me expound a bit…

Yes there are some methodologies that are better than others because they are more statistically accurate and/or they are easy to communicate with those who are going to consume and put into action the data… but in the end there is no magic bullet methodology.

Let’s take the Net Promoter Score(NPS) methodology for instance. I “like” NPS because it is easy to understand, measure, and communicate to a broad audience.. people easily get and understand what it is.. but NPS is not “the way, the truth, and the life” either. The score is like a fuel gauge… it is something you should obviously reference to see what the gauge says, but don’t fixate on it either… because you will lose track of the road and crash!

The most important function of a loyalty survey is your ability to take strategic and tactical actions based upon the data and drive real change in your organization. If you are not able to take real actions and deliver real change… why even bother doing a survey… just do a marketing campaign instead!

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

You Say Survey… I Say Program!

I constantly hear people talk about launching their new “survey” and how they are convinced it is going to help their business be a huge success… but when I scratch the surface and ask them what they are going to do with the data… they often do not have a clear answer to that question… or they say present it to executives.

It is rare that I hear a lot about the actions being taken on the data collected from these survey’s and governance of those actions being followed through and held accountable. Increasing Customer Loyalty is not one team’s or one persons responsibility and building loyalty requires both Tactical and Strategic improvements… we must execute “Key Improvement Area’s” in our business in-order to have a “program” instead of a “survey. I have actually told people before “we are in danger of having this be just another survey, let’s make sure we have a program!”… to me one of the differences is making sure that you have a well defined Governance Structure that cover three main things:

Executive Strategy
Company-Wide Action
Full Organization Accountability

Here is an example of a Governance Structure:

So, if you want to make great PowerPoint’s… run a survey… if you want to make real changes and increase customer loyalty… run a program. You Say Survey… I Say Program!

What Motivates Employees: Required Training for Business Leaders

“Engage Employees to Engage Customers to Engage Customer Loyalty!” ~Chris Antonelli

I have had a long standing belief that “engaged” employees are one of the main keys to customer loyalty. When we are truly and fully engaged in something we tend to apply all of our cognitive skills to it… rather than just going through the motions and doing the bare minimum to complete the task.

We have all been “served” by someone who is not engaged and not really there to serve us… they are there to make their money and apply the least amount of effort in doing so… but we have probably all experienced the inverse of that too where the person serving us is really engaged and seems to be “on their game” going above and beyond… so what is the difference and how do we “Engage Employees to Engage Customers to Engage Customer Loyalty!”

“Freedom from Command and Control” is a great book and business philosophy going around right now… this concept basically boils down to empowering your employees to do the right thing and encouraging them to utilize their cognitive skills to do their day to day work. One great example of this business philosophy in action is Zappos:

  • In 2001, Zappos more than quadrupled their yearly sales, bringing in $8.6 million
  • In 2003, Zappos reached $70 million in growth sales
  • Over the next three years, Zappos doubled their annual revenues, hitting $840 million in gross sales by 2007
  • In 2008, Zappos hit $1 billion in annual sales, two years earlier than expected (one year later, they fulfilled their other long-term goal, debuting at #23 on Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For

Why has Zappos be so successful? Most would agree it is because their Customer Loyalty is second to none. CEO Tony Hsieh of Zappos believes “Empower and trust your employees. When you take care of your employees they take pride in the work they do, which helps to provide the ultimate customer service.”

So, What Motivates Employees to perform at these levels? Well, here is a video that I believe best articulates this business philosophy and should be Required Training for Business Leaders

The surprising truth about what motivates us:

References:
http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zappos.com
http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/4912-q-a-zappos-jane-judd-on-customer-loyalty

Executive Sponsorship… is the Golden Ticket!

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in a conference room with the top Executives of my division. Our discussions where wholly focused on our loyalty programs, the data, action items, and how we can leverage our data to further improve our customer’s experiences and therefore increase our loyalty. I had a light bulb moment realizing that I am particularly fortunate to have the ears of these key leaders and that they are fully engaged in the loyalty program. They view the loyalty info as fundamental, rather than an afterthought or a bright shinny object that they can point to.

These meetings got me thinking about how many loyalty programs are destined for failure… or at least they’ll be marginalized in their success because of their lack of top Executive Sponsorship. Having the top Executive sponsorship allows countless synergies that cannot be listed here, but here are a few top benefits:

1) The Executives set the standard for the focus of the company. If they are really focused on customer loyalty and are using the data… ultimately so will everyone in the organization.

2) The Executives have the larger broader view of the business economics and can bring a valuable perspective to the loyalty data. In the end this will make the program much more successful with increasing loyalty.

3) The foundation of a great loyalty program is not collection and dissemination of the data, but rather the operational and strategic changes we make in our business based upon what the data is telling us… you NEED Executives to drive these changes!

4) When customers know that a loyalty program is being utilized by the Executive Team to drive operational and strategic changes, they are more likely to:
a. Take the survey and therefore increase sample response rates
b. Provide in-depth verbatim responses that help make the statistical information more actionable.
c. Respond when asked for more in-depth interviewing of their experiences.

Over the years that I have been running loyalty programs, I have had a mix of whether the programs were appropriately sponsored at the Executive level, but now that I have had exceptional Executive sponsorship over the last 2 years… it has convinced me of 2 things:

1) Having Top Executive Sponsorship…. is the Golden Ticket!
2) I really don’t want to run another loyalty program… unless I have the golden ticket!

Sincerely,
Chris Antonelli
FantasticFailures.com

There are three kinds of lies…

The phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” was popularized in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli… I actually heard it from one of my lifetime buddies Ben Hamilton who is probably one of the biggest geeks I know :)

Regardless of who the original author was of this quote, it is 100% true! I run multiple Satisfaction and Loyalty/Relationship Surveys for my corporation and we are always looking for new ways to slice and dice the data in-order to get to the most meaningful and actionable data. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great practice for sure, but I do find myself searching sometimes for what the REAL answer is in all of the data… if there were just ONE lever I could pull in our business to increase our loyalty… what would it be? Yes we can do multiple regression analysis, trends charting, correlation analysis, etc… but what does it all mean as a bottom line?

The data is really good, but I find the most powerful and meaningful data we get from our surveys is in the comments analysis and categorizations, closed loop calls, & customer interviews. These interactions provide us the raw, uncensored words of one of our customers. If we read and/or listen to the comments… and then look at the scores… it makes the entire survey come alive with so much more foundation/context because it adds a “human connection” aspect that is otherwise sanitized by data.

Yes, let’s keep surveying our customers and looking at the data in great detail, but let’s make sure we “listen to our customers and make sure we are connected with their voice… after all… it is called “Voice of the Customer”!

Quote Source: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics)