Does the NHS have any Promoters?

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After a visit to the St Thomas’ hospital A&E department, I received a request for feedback via SMS. For the second time this year (the first was with Rosa’s Thai Cafe) I was surprised with what was clearly the NPS question, but with a scale of 1 to 6.

It seems that the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is so bad that they assume, straight off the bat, everyone will be a detractor!

Despite all efforts from CX specialists, we still see misuse of well designed, considered and established CX metrics, created to measure customers experience, but also to ensure the market has standard and consistent metrics, that allow comparisons.

I’m all for people being creative when measuring customers experience, and using whatever scores and calculations work for their organisations. Ultimately, the goal is not the metric, the calculation or the score itself, but the actions or improvements they trigger.

However, certain metrics are used for more than that. And they should serve the important purpose of benchmark. NPS was created, and is a trade mark of Bain and Satmetrix. The way it should be used is well explained in the official website – with Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8) and Promoters (9-10).

I’m unsure if there are CX guidelines from the NHS, or if each of the NHS agencies has its own program (NHS England, NHS Scotland, NHS Wales, HSC Northern Ireland), or even if each trust does as it pleases.

A quick Google search throws things like “Patient experience book” or “Patient experience improvement framework” where lots of right things are said “Good experience of care, treatment and support is increasingly seen as an essential part of an excellent health and social care service, alongside clinical effectiveness and safety“.

However, there doesn’t seem to be a joined up and consistent approach to measuring the patient experience, which will surely make it harder for the trusts, and the NHS as a whole, to improve the experience of patients – as well as their families and the staff.

After all, the NHS is not as bad as this “bastardised” St. Thomas’ NPS question scale question makes it. I, for one, am a Promoter of the services of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

3 elements of trust. 6 elements of powerful tech

In a very recent and interesting Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, Jack (CEO) and Joseph (President) from Zenger Folkman (a leadership development specialist company) talk about how trust is crucial for leadership, and describes the 3 elements of trust.

  1. Relationships
  2. Judgement
  3. Consistency

I really do encourage you to read the full article here.

But what also caught my attention were a few statements that tell us a bit about their research and study, and how they were able to derive such insight.

  • by looking at data from the 360 assessments of 87,000 leaders
  • able to identify three key clusters of items
  • “we looked for correlations between the trust rating and all other items
  • after selecting the 15 highest correlations
  • performed a factor analysis that revealed these three elements
  • By understanding the behaviors that underlie trust

It caught my attention because these are the challenges that most organisations and companies face today, when it comes to measuring and assessing customers and employees experience…

  • How can I easily reach out to my audience – all my employees or customers?
  • How can I easily correlate variables to understand what is impacting the bottom line?
  • How can I easily carry out the necessary analysis to reveal relevant findings?
  • How can I easily identify trends and drivers that can lead to actions?
  • How can I easily understand the behavior of my audience – employees or customers?

Well the answer is… you can do it if you have an established strategy, well defined processes, and very specialist resources. But you can only do it easily if you have an outstanding and powerful technology platform, that enables you to…

  1. Reach out to massive audiences and collect large volumes of data
  2. Combine operational (O-Data) and experience (X-Data) data
  3. Perform statistical analysis on the data collected
  4. Carry out text and sentiment analysis, on free text/comments
  5. Find trends, drivers, and solutions to prioritise
  6. Generate relevant insights and drive actions

In recent years, I have been focusing a lot in helping companies and organisations implement and use technology for such purposes. And within the portfolio of available technology platforms, there are a few that stand out. The one which I believe is best positioned and most powerful is Qualtrics which was recently acquired by SAP. I encourage you to have a look, and try it out, if you haven’t already.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe and a 1-5 NPS scale

Yesterday my wife was craving for coconut rice, so we decided to have a late lunch at Rosa’s Thai Cafe – which many say is the best thai in London. We had been there a few times already, and as always the food was excellent, but this time there was something new.

The bill came in a tablet (see picture below). And the app, enabled by Yumpingo, not only had the detailed bill, but also a thumbs up/down against each item, as well as a final quick survey to collect our feedback.

This made our experience at Rosa’s even better. A paperless transaction is a great innovation and, in my opinion, should be mandatory (mainly for environmental reasons). And the willing to collect customer’s feedback is still something most companies, let alone restaurants, are still not keen to do.

But in the middle of all this, something made me raise the eyebrow. The first question in the short survey was “How likely are you to recommend Rosa’s Thai Cafe to a friend or relative” and the answer had a 1 to 5 scale!… When this was clearly a NPS question, which should have a scale between 0 and 10.

A few months ago, in my blog post Does changing NPS scale make sense? I raised the question around NPS, and if it would make sense to have a European variant where 6-7 were Passives (rather than standard 7-8) and 8-10 were Promoters (rather than standard 9-10).

What didn’t cross my mind was having a different scale of 1 to 5, rather than the 0 to 10, set by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix; Accepted and adopted by the majority of CX practitioners and specialists; Ensuring that the market had a standard and consistent way of measuring NPS.

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5 takeaways from carbon copy NPS

A few days ago, when in Portugal, I took my Gramma’s car to the local Renault dealer, as it needed some servicing. The Customer Service Manager looked up the car in the system, and then wrote down, in what looked a random piece of paper, what I needed – replace a headlight and a tire valve – “the system is having a hick-up“.

No bother. Everyone was very nice and attentive. I left the car in the shop in the morning, and when I came back at the agreed time in the afternoon, it was all done. “Car is ready, you can go to the office. They have all details and will take your payment“, the Customer Service Manager said.

In the office, the Finance person struggled to find the the information about my car’s service. Somehow it didn’t surprise me, as he was looking into a big pile of papers. Decided then to call the Customer Service Manager, who came running from the service area to provide him with the piece of paper he was looking for.

Again, no bother. I happened to have plenty of time, and in between the backwards and forwards, they were actually being very nice to me. I ended up paying and given a printed detailed invoice. When I was about to leave, the Finance person asked me if I would mind providing feedback, and presented me with… a block of chemical carbon copy paper.

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I was not surprised by being asked for feedback in a piece of paper, but it was the first time I have seen it in a block of chemical carbon copy paper. I was curious. Asked if it was a dealer’s initiative, or a global one from Renault. He said it was a dealer’s initiative, across the various dealers of that dealership, and that I should receive another request from Renault via email – “but be aware that the link doesn’t say Renault, as this is outsourced to a 3rd party”.

A few points to take away from this experience…

1 – You must be able to collect, analyse, and action quickly. It is great to collect customer’s feedback, but you must be able to analyse it, and gather insights swiftly, as well as close the loop in a timely manner. Collecting feedback on a piece of paper will surely prevent you from doing that.

2 – You should make sure the collection of customer feedback is effortless. Not only for the customer, but also for the person or team gathering it for analysis. I pity the person who, at this dealership, will have the job of collecting the carbon copies, and count or add responses.

3 – You must provide option for anonymous and more insightful response. Customer feedback surveys of this kind, should always have the option to be anonymous (“I need to put your car registration number, and you to sign, otherwise it is not valid”, he told me), and it should provide the customer with an option to explain why he gave that score.

4 – You should not overload your customers with feedback surveys. Let alone about the same transaction, service or experience. If the global brand (in this case, Renault) has an automated and more modern way of collecting feedback (email invitation + feedback management system), surely the dealer can ask them to provide the data re. their dealership.

5 – You must ask your 3rd party supplier to ensure feedback invitation is branded. These days everyone receives tens of fake emails per week, with phishing links, etc. Hence it is very important that your email invitation for customer feedback, as well as the link you share for the online survey, is branded and trustworthy.

Does changing NPS scale make sense?

Recently, a few clients were asking my opinion on NPS and the way it is calculated, scored, as well as its scale. And one of them pointed me to this article: Why there needs to be a European variant of the Net Promoter Score

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By Alexander Dobronte in http://www.checkmarket.com

It is an interesting article, and you can see that the author put some thought on the topic, and tried to build a logic around it, and for that alone it is worth reading. However, I must confess it is the first time I see such a thing, even though I would not be surprised if someone told me others have already suggested changing the way to calculate NPS.

I completely understand where the author is coming from, and what he says may even make sense in certain scenarios. But, it would fall short if we look at it from various other perspectives. For example, in my home country, Portugal, the school grades are given on a scale of 0 to 20. Also, I think that a person with low expectations would easily give a NPS score of 10 for the same service or experience that a person with high expectations would class as a 8 or 9.

No system is foolproof, and applies to every scenario in the same way, or is interpreted by every person the same way. I think the way people react and respond will always depend a little bit on one’s idiosyncrasy. As well as one’s cultural, educational, sociological and economical backgrounds. Sometimes even one’s momentarily mood!

And it is probably recognising exactly that, that the NPS creators and the majority of CX practitioners and specialists, choose to respect NPS score/scale. There’s no point in trying to create multiple variations of the way you calculate NPS, otherwise every company would end up with a different way of calculating NPS, defeating the whole purpose of a standard and consistent way of measuring.

As we all know, NPS was created (and is a trade mark) by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. And the way it is calculated and measures is well explained in the official site – with Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8) and Promoters (9-10).

What are your thoughts? Are you using the official NPS scale or diverting from it?

3 principles to improve survey experience

On my blog post Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience I touched on the importance of Personalisation when it comes to design and build customer feedback surveys. But there are other things you should pay attention to, if you are truly interested in gathering your customers’ opinion.

KISS – Keep it simple

It is extremely important to follow the KISS principle and keep surveys simple. Often, we receive long and wordy surveys, which immediately put us off. We don’t have time, nor patience, to reply to lengthy questionnaires – Forrester recommends relational surveys to have no more than 15 questions, and transactional ones to have up to 10 questions.

Not long ago I received a survey invitation from Ryanair, in which they said it would take “no more than 5 minutes” of my time. But as soon as I got into the survey, I was advised it was not going to take “more than 10 minutes”. If I was already put off by the initial expectation, I surely was angry with the fact that it as misleading.

(Note: that was not the only reason I ended up not responding to the survey. The truth is that I don’t trust Ryanair’s intentions when it comes to VoC and CX, and I don’t believe they listen or care about customer’s opinions).

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KITTP – Keep it to the point

It is important to follow the KITTP principle (just made it up!) and keep surveys to the point. If it is transactional, ask for satisfaction, touch-point, effort or resolution. If it is relational, add questions around brand, product or competition. But make sure you avoid cluttering the survey with further questions, and don’t try to do market research in customer feedback surveys.

Surveys should be engaging and enticing. And that only happens if they’re objective and to the point. Ideally, surveys are effortless and fun to complete. You can use tactics like telling a story or using emojis. But don’t go off in tangents and stick to the questions that really matter and will surface valuable insight.

Same applies to the email invitations. It is not unusual to see survey invitations that not only lack the company’s branding, but also contain too much text. Bin, is their immediate destiny. Don’t try and shoot two birds with one stone putting marketing messages or up/cross-selling , in a customer feedback survey invitation.

KIC – Keep it consistent

Lastly, it is crucial to follow the KIC principle (there I go, making up even more acronyms!) and keep it consistent. Avoid at all cost having silos in your organisation (departments, teams, etc.) sending surveys using different platforms, branding or, even worse, different or wrong scales.

(Note: For heaven’s sake, if it is not in a 0 to 10 scale, it is not NPS!)

Make sure you have a joint approach to customer experience, and consistent customer feedback initiatives. Use a platform that allows you to enable and deploy different voice-of-the-customer initiatives, in various channels, but at the same time ensures consistency across those initiatives and data gathered.

CX Chat – Closing the loop with the customer

Every Wednesday a group of Customer and Employee Experience enthusiasts joins #CXChat, a twitter chat hosted by @annettefranz and @sueduris. This chat is for CX and EX professionals to connect, learn and share best practices. And every week it has a new topic.

Two weeks ago the topic was Closing the loop with the customer on feedback and other items. A very interesting topic around which Sue and Annette launched a series of questions for discussion. Very interesting discussions and opinions were shared, which you can see here.

This topic is dear to me, so I participated and shared my points of view. Some of which you can see below (apologies for some misspelling, but I was using my smartphone).

Q1. What does closing the loop with the customer mean?

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Q2. What is the importance of/are benefits to closing the loop with the customer? How does it help the customer experience?

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Q3. What are examples of companies failing to close the loop with customers?

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Q4. Can you measure whether you’re doing a good job with closing the loop with the customer? How can you tell?

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Q5. What are examples of companies effectively closing the loop with customers?

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Q6. If your CEO asked you to define a good closed loop process and provide best practices on how to manage it, what would you tell him/her?

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Q7. Closing the loop on customer feedback isn’t just about following up with customers. How does your company close the loop with employees?

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Q8. What are best practices for closing the loop with employees?

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Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience

Organisations launch surveys to measure customer experiences, but is the survey itself delivering a good experience? Those of us who usually take the time to provide an organisation with feedback on our experiences, know that the answer to that question is more often than not a resounding “No”.

The problem is that most organisations are just throwing surveys at customers without any consideration. Ultimately resulting in surveys that put people off, and customers disbelieving organisation’s intentions, thinking they just want to get more information to cross/up-sell.

If your organisation wants to be customer-centric and is truly interested in the customer opinion, then there are a few things to concentrate on when building Voice-of-Customer initiatives. One of them, which I believe is absolutely key, is Personalisation, and it can be addressed by breaking the fourth wall.

Design your surveys with an outside-in perspective, with a big focus on the customer. The one you are talking to, not a generic customer, persona or segment. Do what Frank Underwood used to do in House of Cards. Break the fourth wall and talk to the individual customer about what is relevant to her.

You have a full history of transactions and engagements in your operational systems (ERP, CRM, etc.) so why ask the customer what product she bought, before requesting feedback? Why ask the customer what channel she used, before checking if it was the most convenient. Ask the customer about THE product she bought or THE channel she used.

Make sure you use all information and data at your disposal – Operational Data (O-Data) and eXperience Data (X-Data) – to make surveys more personalised, simpler and effortless for the customer. This will ensure not only a great survey experience but also an increase in response rate.

The customer will not only feel valued, but also feel that the organisation is listening and willing to truly consider their opinion (closing the loop is another crucial topic that influences this, but we will address that in another blog post). 

Do you want an example?… See these two surveys below. Which survey sounds better? Which sounds more truthful? Which is more attractive? Which is going to generate more responses?… It is obvious, isn’t it?

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Keep up with customer perceived value

To thrive in today’s hyper-competitive and hyper-connected customer-focused world, you must not only deliver a positive Customer Experience every time you interact with a customer, but also create, deliver and refresh value, as perceived by customers, on a continuous basis.

The Kano Model (theory of product development and customer satisfaction developed back in the 80’s) classifies customer requirements into categories, and can be used in experience management to help us understand how customers perceive the value they get.

  • Must-be or the unspoken customer requirements are so obvious that the customer doesn’t expect to have to spell them out. They’re the absolute minimum, and the customer won’t even notice if you meet them. But if you don’t, it will be so crucial that you should be prepared to lose a customer.
  • One-dimensional requirements are related to product features or elements of service delivery. The more of those you meet, the better the Customer Experience, and the highest the customer will think of you. If you fail to deliver them the customer will certainly be disappointed and open up to competition.
  • Delighter requirements are the ones that surprise the customer and will delight or even wow, having an extremely positive impact on the Customer Experience, leading to word-of-mouth and advocacy. But no harm is done if these aren’t there, as they are not expected anyway.

The interesting thing is that with time Delighter requirements become One-Dimensional, and One-Dimensional requirements become Must-be. And that is one of the reasons you need to continuously update your understanding of the customer, and their perception of value.

There is only a limited number of ways to increase your knowledge of the customer. Look into solicited and unsolicited feedback – two good examples of that are the voice-of-the-customer (VoC) from surveys, or the interaction and buying information from CRM systems.

But the challenge is: how quickly and effectively can you collect, gather, aggregate or analyse data, and find actionable insights that will allow you to enhance an individual’s Customer Experience with your company and its products or services?

You will definitely need to assemble a cross-functional team. As OVUM says “the twin engines of growth – Customer Experience and continuous innovation – are not departmental challenges, as they have implications for the entire enterprise, its ecosystem of partners and suppliers”.

And you will undoubtedly need technology to enable and support you. An agile technology platform, focused on experience management, which allows you to collect valuable information and data at every customer journey stage, and from every touch-point or channel.

A technology platform that allows you to incorporate customer knowledge and feedback into every decision, by offering powerful capabilities to analyse, prioritise and predict based on statistical, text or sentiment analysis. As well as allow tracking of progress and immediate action.

So, if you are trying to keep up with your customer’s perceived value make sure you surround yourself with the right people, gear yourself up with the right tools, and put in place a continuous improvement plan, that will certainly have a start date but no end date.

Federer, Feedback and CX

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Roger Federer is a legend. So far (yes, I believe he still has a couple of more to win) he has won a record 19 Grand Slam titles, and over $100 million in prize money. He is the best of the best. A GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

Roger is coached by Stefan Edberg, who was #1 and won 6 Grand Slam titles, Ivan Ljubicic, who has a career high #3 and never reached a Grand Slam final, and Severin Lüthi, the head-coach, who gave up tennis when he was 20 with career high #622 and no titles!

Now the question is: Why does Federer need or even seek advice and feedback from people who are light-years away from his capability? People who have never even dreamed of achieving what the Swiss was able to achieve? People, like his head-coach, who have nothing to show for in tennis?

The answer is simple, and one that applies to you and your company. No matter how successful you are, you can never turn down a piece of advice and you always need feedback on how to improve. That is the only way you will be able to keep improving, and that is how the best keep being successful.

It doesn’t matter if the feedback comes from who you might think knows less than you about your business, product or service. Sometimes all you need is another perspective. One that is different from yours. And turns out that most times, in particular in business, customers and employees know more about it than you. They’re the users, they’re the frontline!

In business feedback is absolutely crucial. The best companies not only embrace feedback but, above all, they act on it. Customer feedback and Employee feedback are probably the most important ones, as they give you a true reflection of the experience your company is delivering, allowing you to address and move forward. To capitalise on the good things and improve the bad ones.

If you’re only starting the feedback journey then you should look into surveying your customers and employees. Surveys are the primary building block of Voice-of-Customer or Employee (VoC / VoE) programs – a key part of Customer Experience programs – as they help you gauge how customers and employees feel about the experience you deliver.

Once you have the data collected you need to analyse and make sense of the feedback. And after that you need to be able to reach actionable insights. That is the difficult bit. Finding meaning in your data and identifying the trends. Things that sometimes are buried deep under customers’ free text comments or responses.

It’s been over a year, since I came across and started working with a technology that enables all of the above, Qualtrics. The world’s leading enterprise research platform with over 8,500 brands using it to manage their Experience. Be it the Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience, Product Experience or Brand Experience.

The motto of this blog is “Customer Experience and Technology to Enable It“. Well here is a technology that will definitely enable you to improve the Customer Experience you deliver.