Archive for the ‘net promoter’ Category

How would Google build a customer reference program?

May 11, 2007

In a recent post Tim O’Reilly asked what would Google do if they were your bank or credit card? It got me thinking about Customer Reference programs, and how they would change if Google (or Amazon or any Web 2.0 company) built them. Most of the reference programs that I’ve been involved in have been run by the marketing department, and they gather the positive feedback of top customers and turn it into reusable material (like case studies, videos, podcasts or a customer-to-customer phone call). They essentially consists of a one way publishing process where the company controls the information and pushes it to potential customers (phone calls are a bit different, but the company still controls who’s involved in the conversation).

In a web 2.0 world all of this changes. Jeremiah’s written a lot on the subject of social media and reference programs, and I think that it all boils down to the fact that reference programs should be conversations with your customer, and they should be embedded deeply into your organization. Sure, if a customer says something great about you then it should be fed out to PR, advertising and sales. But equally if your customers have a problem with your product then the product team should know about it, and you need to be able to respond in a sensible way. In other words, you need to listen, as well as talk.

The LSE published an interesting study in 2005 showing the importance of dealing with negative as well as positive word-of-mouth. A 2% reduction in negative word-of-mouth has the same effect as a 7% increase in positive word-of-mouth. Those are pretty compelling numbers to encourage you to expand your reference program to deal with negative comments as well.

So what would such a program look like? It would impact the scorecard of every department in the company, it would provide instantaneous monitoring and response, and it would open up the company so that everyone knew the customer. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a customer reference program at all, it would simply be the way that we do business.

 There’s one company that I’ve found that already implement programs like this – Satmetrix (in the interest of full diclosure, Satmetrix have been a client of ours in the past). They talk about the netpromoter number a lot, which is great, but I’m not sure how involved they are in the instantaneous monitoring/response side of things (I’m sure they can answer that).  Anyway, I’d be interested to hear what’s really happening from all the reference professionals out there, and if there are any other companies who are doing a good job implementing their own (or other peoples) Reference Program 2.0.

Net Promoter and Blogs

April 24, 2006

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the Guardian’s Amazon Article. In particular I’m wondering how this links in with the work that we’ve been doing around the Net Promoter metric. The Net Promoter metric is based on a single question can (supposedly) tell you everything you need to know about your customers – ” would you recommend us to a colleague”. The idea is that word of mouth marketing can make or break a company – even in a B2B environment. It’s not necesarily the word of mouth marketing that is causing the success, but it definitely acts as a barometer for the level of customer focus.

However, if blogging becomes as all pervasive as some think then it will definitely be the word of mouth marketing that is causing the success or, as Scoble points out, if your company isn’t blogging then it will be seen with a level of suspicion.

Of course, it’s still not the blogging that makes a company client focused, it’s what the you do with the information that you learn – just the same with Net Promoter.